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Bulls clinch 7th seed, face Miami in first round

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Alright, now that we know who the Bulls are playing, some initial thoughts:

  • Miami's health will be a huge factor. Having Zo out would eliminate a major problem for the Bulls, as the Heat are at their defensive best when he's on the court. Plus we need not mention our favorite season buzzword, "undersized". Jason Williams and James Posey also just recently came back from injury, so who knows at what degree they're truly back.
     
  • The Bulls have contained Wade fairly well, but I have a hard time considering that a trend after only a couple games. Hinrich will have his work cut out for him.
     
  • The Heat have a pretty weak perimeter defense, so if the Bulls' guards attack (and again, not having Zo out there is huge) instead of settling for jumpers they can do damage. But that also means when they kick the ball out the spot shooters have to stay as hot as they've been the past couple weeks.
     
  • I'm not too worried about the Heat having a 'veteran' bench. Walker, Payton, the dueling Anderson retreads...they may have playoff experience but are they perhaps too old to keep up with our plucky young Bulls? Besides, they've all got playoff
     
  • STAY. OUT. OF. FOUL. TROUBLE. Especially Chandler. While the Bulls have a dearth of top-notch big men, they do have guys who won't kill them if they only play in spurts. And yes Luke Schensher will likely get to use his fouls against Shaq as well.
     
  • That said, Shaq is not what he used to be. He is fouling far more this season as in years past, so maybe the tables can be turned and he can be put on the bench for long stretches. His (and Haslem's) rebounding prowess against Chandler and Nocioni will be interesting, and critical.
     
  • And remember: The Bulls have Nocioni, they don't!

Any breakdown really comes down to one thing: staying consistent on offense. We know the defense and the effort will be there, but these 12 point quarters the Bulls are known to have once (or twice) a game will lead to deficits the Bulls can't expect to come back from in playoff basketball against a more talented team. Gordon, Nocioni, Allen...all these guys have to be shooting well.

Alright, now lets have a pow-wow and break it down together. I'm talking to the Jones' Thursday night and want something substantial to say (for once)!