Alright, alright, alright, I admit it — I messed up. Didn’t see this one coming. At all.
I predicted a Heat sweep of the Chicago Bulls. I was wrong (so sue me). I honestly believed that the Heat were going to crush an injured Chicago Bulls team that had just gone through a grueling seven-game series with the Brooklyn Nets. This series was going to be like taking candy from a baby.
I still think that’s the case.
How many times is Nate Robinson going to score 27 points on 8-for-16 shooting? The last time he had a field goal percentage of 50% or more was on April 27th…five games ago. How many times are Ray Allen and Mike Miller going to go a combined 2-for-8 from three point range? How many times will Dwyane Wade and LeBron James be the only Heat players with 10 or more points?
Folks, let’s not overreact — this was a fluke, plain and simple.
Call me a homer — fine. Say that I’m completely irrational — whatever. But if you think that the Chicago Bulls are going to be able to hang with this Miami Heat team for the next four games, you’re incredibly mistaken.
But…who’s going to be able to defend Nate Robinson? Simple, Nate Robinson is 5′ 9”, so as long as Spoelstra puts somebody with a decent amount of speed and length (i.e. somebody not named Ray Allen) to disrupt The Little Nate That Could then he shouldn’t go off for 20+ again. Or if he does, at least make him shoot 20+ times. You know Nate Robinson is going to chuck up horrible shots — that job is already accomplished — you just have to make sure he doesn’t get into a comfortable shooting rhythm.
But…what if Bosh keeps on sucking? Bosh was 3-for-1o last game, and finished with nine points. However, Bosh has had games where he’s sucked all year, and the Heat have prevailed (thanks to their bench production). That being said, Bosh does need to step it up and I don’t even care if he improves on the offensive end or defensive end (preferably both), but he’s got to do better than two blocked shots and six rebounds, which is what he had last game.
But…how will the Heat beat the Bulls? Two words: LeBron James. The Bulls can’t guard him. Nobody in the league and arguably nobody in NBA history could guard LeBron James (this last part is up for debate, and a discussion for another time). The Heat need to start giving the ball to LeBron James and telling him to go into Game-Six-Against-Boston-F-U mode.
The other thing they need to do is attack the Bulls off the dribble. The Bulls have a ton of height, but that means they are slower than the Heat. The Heat need to run more pick-and-pops with Bosh, to spread the floor and move Chicago’s big men out of the paint. This creates more space, and more driving lanes, which in turn will lead to better interior looks or open perimeter shots.
Oh and one last thing — LUOL DENG AND KIRK HINRICH ARE STILL GOING TO BE OUT OR NOT 100%. This might not have been a factor in Game 1, but come Game 3 or Game 4 or Game 5, it is going to have a huge impact considering the likes of Jimmy Butler has already played every minute of the past three playoff games.
This series doesn’t go more than five games. The Bulls got their win. The Heat are pissed. They’ve woken up and smelled the coffee. Let’s not overreact.
It’s over, Chicago.