It really needs to be 7pm about now-ish. And as surprisingly quick as this series turnaround has been, in other ways it seems like forever. And will continue to do so as they'll have the first three games in eight days.
I'm going to dump more links on you, the series previews I've encountered are certainly more interesting when talking about the actual matchup on the court, especially with the unorthodox Heat lineups (out of poor roster construction moreso than ingenuity). There's, of course, also the story of the Summer of 2010, retroactive (and likely embellished) Rose vs. Wade/James stuff, the Bulls being the sentimental (a real TEAM, you guys) favorite. And who am I kidding, this does mean more because the Heat, and especially LeBron James, are so damned hateable.
But a lot of that will go away when these games actually begin, and we'll see two teams start to figure eachother out over the course of what will likely be a long series. And I'm trying to remind myself of that, even bracing for the likely game where the Heat obliterate the Bulls. It'll likely happen, but hopefully only once, and certainly hopefully not tonight. Game 1 is as exciting as it gets to see the first moves and countermoves, and what should be a really pumped up UC atmosphere.
On to the links!
- Lets fittingly start with Derrick Rose. Mike Prada of SBNation has a fantastic post on how Rose's personality makes him a true 'baller', and how that manifests to his determined play on the court and ability to improve his game. Meanwhile ProBasketballTalk has a technical take from a coach on how exactly Rose attacks the rim and how it's evolving.
- Meanwhile, a reminder that Dwyane Wade was Derrick Rose before Derrick Rose. And as an answer to any boasting that the Heat are built to choke, Wade sorta already won an NBA Title carrying a team...which, you know, counts. Not that we can't also make fun of the guy for openly admitting he feels under-appreciated, ha.
- The Heat will have a lot of options, none of which are that great, to try and contain Rose. And yes, LeBron James will be one of those options.
- And on offense, LeBron will be seeing a lot of Luol Deng. The plan there is pretty simple, make James work for his shots, and ideally (and especially late in games) get him to eventually quit working and settle for those step-back jumpers. He's pretty excellent at those, but it's still a better result than most. Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago has a great post on the Bulls team defensive matchups, and reminds us that assistant coach Adrian Griffin was once given the role of an NBA Finals Wade-stopper.
- Kevin Arnovitz at ESPN.com on what may be the Heat's best lineup, one without a point guard at all where they play James Jones and Joel Anthony alongside James/Wade/Bosh. Mike McGraw notes the increase in playing time from Joel Anthony in these playoffs, though digs at the notion that the Heat are truly performing better this postseason considering how banged-up the Celtics were. McGraw also notes the increase in FTAs in the playoffs for the Heat, which is certainly a concern for the physical defense of the Bulls.
- Finally, just a lot more digestible matchup talk and previewin': Sam Smith, Nick Friedell, Arnovitz and Tom Haberstroh, Kurt Helin, and Doug Thonus.
So hopefully a day of reading keeps the anticipation from driving a Bulls fan insane. Game Thread at 7.