Now that the Chicago Bulls have won their first round playoff series, they will match up against the Miami Heat (playoff schedule here). One of the big questions for the Chicago Bulls is where they will get their offense, especially when trying to keep up with a potent Miami Heat offense. This is particularly true given the Bulls’ ailing players: Luol Deng had to undergo a spinal tap (and missed Game 7 of the Nets-Bulls series) to test for spinal meningitis (the test came back negative), and Kirk Hinrich missed Game 5, Game 6, and Game 7 with a bruised left calf. Considering the fact that the Bulls play the Heat on Monday (tomorrow), the Bulls probably won’t have Deng or Hinrich (two of their best players) back to 100% by Monday.
As, stated earlier, these injuries are going to hamper the Bulls’ already mediocre offense — which struggles mightily against the Heat. Against the Heat, the Bulls shoot 54.5% in the restricted area, 35% in the paint (non-restricted area), 33% from mid-range, 43.75% from the corner three, and 34.5% from the above-the-break three. To put into context how badly the Bulls have struggled from these zones against the Heat (except from the corner three), if the Bulls had averaged these percentages for an entire season, they would have been 28th, 23rd, 30th, 4th, and 20th-best in the league, respectively, from each of these five shooting zones.
The Bulls have struggled to score against the Heat all season (and so have pretty much all the teams in the NBA). Their one saving grace (at least scoring-wise) against the Heat has been their efficiency from the corner three — they’ve knocked down about 44% of their shots from there.
This should emphasize the importance of the Bulls’ defense because if they cannot stop the Heat from scoring, then the Bulls have little chance of scoring enough points to win a game.