As we all know, the regular season means very little other than deciding seeding. This year is about getting past the Miami Heat and beating the west in the Finals. As of right now, I don't know that the Bulls can do that. Derrick Rose is one of the best players on planet earth, but the Heat have somebody bigger, taller, stronger, just as fast, and meaner than him on their roster, and they have two other stars + Haslem as well. I know this sentence could get me flamed, but I'd argue the also have the refs on their side. They aren't unbeatable, but I think there is really only one way to beat them: thee+zone.
1) The Miami Heat have proven susceptible to the zone defense both in last years finals and often this season as well. This is due to the fact that it makes it more difficult for James and Wade to athleticism their way to fast breaks, alley-oops, and full court passes*. Zone also, by design, has less players clustered under the basket. This, in theory, would keep more players further from the hoop on defense, thus strengthening the chances of a Bulls fast break. I'm not going to go into this too much, because it's been talked about quite a lot. I'll just say i'm one that buys into the idea that the zone is the best defense to keep the Heat from being other worldly.
2) Three point shooting. I can't stress this enough. The Miami Heat, because of the length of James and Wade and the dirty play of Battier and Haslem, are the best defensive team in the league come playoff time. And yeah, i'm gonna say it. The refs help them just as much defensively as they do offensively. I'd argue that the Heat's fastbreak plays would be cut in half if the refs didn't allow Miami arms to crash down onto the arms of driving offensive players, thus causing them to lose the ball and hit the floor with no foul called. But I digress. There are several reasons I believe three point shooting is the key to beat Miami (and I don't mean just putting up threes, I mean having sharpshooters on the roster, which the Bulls lack right now outside of kinda Korver): (1) Shoot over the defense. Nobody in the NBA including Rose, Durant, or Kobe can consistently drive through the defined muscles on the waving and swiping arms of the Miami Heat. I'm not saying never attack the basket, as you need to in order to keep them honest. But Rose can't win games against them the way he normally does: drive, drive, drive, kick out jumper to Deng, drive, block/steal, kick out jumper to Brewer, buzzer. The Heat are just too long. (2) Shooting threes takes a very large amount of control out of the hands of Stern's refs. We KNOW every Miami game will be reffed unfairly in favor of Miami. But there are only so many times the refs can say that Luol Deng pushed off on the three point attempt when he blatantly didnt. Shooting threes will keep our players from getting smashed under the hoop with no foul called. (3) *Shooting threes, and I may be way off here, could lessen the chances of Wade-to-James full court passes. They love to do this as a momentum-swinging play. But if the Bulls have three guys out by the three point line, SOMEBODY has to be there to get in the way of Wade's bullet pass...right? Right?
I don't think the Bulls have the three point shooting to pull off a three-and-zone method against the Heat this season. I think to do it against the long, upward-stretched arms of the Heat, they need guys like Ray Allen who can pull up and swish, even in less than ideal situations.
I understand that you all may hate this idea, because I myself tend to think three point shooting teams never win it all, but I also think it might be the best way to deal with Miami's smothering defense and the ref help they get on top of that.
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