First of all, I want to say this blog is one of the best on the web. I truly enjoy reading all of the great insight from all the regulars here, and the sarcastic banter is excellent. You all should be very proud to have created such a solid community.
This series against the Heat is going to be great. With the exception of perhaps the Thunder, the Bulls are probably the team that matches up best with the Heat. Brewer & Deng can guard Wade & Lebron. Korver can match up with James Jones or Mike Miller, so he should be able to get consistent minutes. Nobody on the Heat can guard Rose effectively. Bosh already has nightmares about Noah, Taj & Asik. Our bigs are vastly superior to theirs. We should control the boards, as usual, which means the Heat will have a lot of one-and-done possessions. Typically teams beat the Bulls by shooting lights out, but that rarely happens 4 times out of 7.
If I were the Heat, I'd play Wade, James Jones, Lebron, Bosh & Joel Anthony in crunch time. This would force Rose to guard Wade, which is a tough cover. But Spoelstra doesn't seem that smart, so we'll see what happens. Thibs is in a different league than Spoelstra. This should give the Bulls an advantage game to game & in the 2nd half of games, where the Bulls have excelled all season.
For the Bulls to win the series, a few things need to happen:
(1) Rose has to play like the MVP. No terrible shooting nights, no 8-turnover games. He's got to control the game, score in transition, not fall in love with his J, relentlessly attack the rim, put the Heat in foul trouble, and get to the FT line. Typical Rose stuff.
(2) This series is THE defining moment of Deng's career. Deng must have a good series. He'll be guarding Lebron about 40 minutes a game. Luol's gotta play smart D, stay out of foul trouble, and still contribute enough offensively. I've been critical of Deng in the past, but we need Luol now more than ever.
(3) Boozer cannot be horrible. Note, I didn't say he has to play great. If we get 20 & 10 from Booz, this could be a short series. But as long as he's active, scoring at a decent rate, and grabbing defensive rebounds, the Bulls should be fine.
(4) We must not turn the ball over or jack up bad shots that lead to transition opportunities for the Heat. Miami thrives off transition dunks by Wade & Lebron. We have to control this and force the Heat to execute in the half court on every possession. Lebron & Bosh are mentally weak. They can be broken. We have to grind these guys on every possession until they crack.
(5) Bogans has to score 6 points four times in the series. The Bulls are now up to 31-2 this year when Bogans goes for 6 or more.
(6) Korver has to shoot a decent percentage. If he has a few 1 for 8 games, we won't be able to score enough to win. We're gonna need some hot sauce this series. When Korver's hitting 3's, we are really tough to beat.
That's it. The rest will take care of itself. I expect Noah to play like he just got electrocuted, and the team will feed off his energy. Taj, Asik, Brewer & Korver will play big roles off the bench. I like the Bulls in 6 or 7.
If the Bulls knock off the Heat, I suspect the Heat players will start sniping at each other, pointing fingers, insulting their bench guys, talking about lack of chemistry, blaming injuries, blaming the refs, crying -- all the things sore losers do.
A series win would also elevate Rose even higher. If the Bulls beat the Heat and go on to win the title, I bet Simmons jumps Rose all the way to #1 on his annual most valuable list. Rose would leap to the top of every analysts best player column. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but I like to dream. Imagine that -- Derrick Rose being considered the consensus best player in the entire NBA. At the start of the season, this was not possible. Now it's just 8 wins away.