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Tonight, the Chicago Bulls (31-22) will seek to continue their impressive, but somewhat inconsequential regular season dominance of Conference leading Miami Heat (37-14) [7pm, TNT]. Like their Eastern Conference rivals the Knicks and the Pacers, the Bulls have done well against the Heat in the regular season, winning 5 out of the last 7, with or without Derrick Rose.
The Bulls last faced off against the Heat on January 4 in Miami and pulled out a 96 - 89 win. The Bulls among other things could point to three main causes for the win. The Bulls continued their rebounding excellence, outworking the Heat on the boards 48 to 28. That lead to 46 points in the paint. The Bulls also relied on some inspired play by Carlos "+/- is a hockey stat" Boozer who chipped in 27 points on 12 for 17 shooting. He also added 12 rebounds, six of them offensive
Finally, the Bulls defended the 3 well, holding the Heat to 5 of 20 shooting at the arc. Future Senator Shane Battier looked especially perplexed offensively as the Bulls successfully dared him to shoot the three. It was no fluke for the Bulls as they have guarded the three all well this season. They’ve held opponents to 33% shooting at the arc on the season, second best in the league.
If the Bulls are to get the win tonight, they would essentially derailing a speeding locomotive. The Heat have won there last 8 contest, 6 of those by over ten points. It should be no surprise to anyone that LeBron James has lead the charge. His record breaking streak need not be repeated here.
But the LeBronettes have performed well during this streak. When not getting nutmegged at the All-Star game or having his wife called out by random assorted rappers, Chris Bosh has put up 20.95 PER on the season and Dwayne Wade has been even better scoring a 23.61 PER.
The Heat kryponite has been there failings in the inside. Before they went streaking, their last lost came at the hands of the Indiana Pacers at Arco on February 1st. David West was dominate offensively, going 12 for 15 from the field and 6 for 6 from the line. The Pacers also enjoyed a +9 rebounding advantage, which actually paled in comparison to the +19 rebounding advantage they earned when they beat the Heat again 87 -77 in January.
The Heat hilariously sought to at least address there deficiencies on the inside by signing Chris Andersen for the rest of the season. The Birdman unfortunately has failed to make an impact, only recording over 15 minutes of playing time twice in 11 games. His minutes are on a slight downward trend The Heat’s last few outings have seen him play under 10 minutes in each. In the meantime, the Heat have chosen to go small much of the season, with Bosh playing Center in there two most used lineups and LeBron playing PF in 4 of there 5 most used lineups.
The Heat are coming off a back to back, winning 103 - 90 against the Hawks last night. The Bulls enjoyed a day of rest after beating up on the New Orleans Hornets. The game saw the return of the captain, who truly initiated the offense like no other human could possibly do. Shockingly though he is a game time decision based on a (insert minor injury here) problem. If he is not ready to go, look for Nate to start, Marco to back up the 1, and Marquis Teague’s sweet mustache to come in and turn the ball over.
In New Orleans, the Bulls All-Stars, Joakim Noah and Lou Deng avoided a hangover. Both performed admirably in New Orleans, with Noah putting up a 15 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks and Lou Deng adding 20 points including two threes.
Go Bulls. And check out the The Bulls Show Podcast tomorrow after the game. Download from iTunes or better yet, listen from BaB.