Chicago Bulls vs Miami Heat
(2) MIAMI HEAT
Miami possesses a lot of talent with the likes of Dwayne Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, and Udonis Haslem controlling the court.
Wade can make it happen, shooting from the outside, dishing it inside, and ripping the ball out of the air to secure another shot. He led the team in shooting (27.2 PPG) and assists (6.7 APG) and was solid under the boards (5.7 RPG).
Shaquille O’Neal may be aging but he’s still tough to guard. Give him a shot and he’ll take it and hit 60% of the time. Along with collecting 20 PPG, O’Neal was good for more than 9 rebounds a contest.
From the foul line, Haslem has proven to be effective knocking in 79% of his shots. Under the boards he grabbed the ball an average of 7.8 times per game.
Miami has shooters, rebounders and passers. For the Heat, it can get a bit dicey out on the perimeter, but Antoine Walker has proven to be an effective go to guy as has James Posey.
Pat Riley will be coaching the team after having lost his mother just prior to the start of the playoffs. There will be some emotion to contend with, but Riley is the ultimate professional who should be able to perform without missing a beat.
(7) CHICAGO BULLS
For the second year running, the Bulls are in the playoffs. They did it by winning 12 of their last 14 games and finishing at .500. One thing this club has going for it is their drive to win; they play hard and with determination.
Andres Nocioni has to continue the types of impressive performances he had down the stretch for the Bulls to have a chance at advancing. In nine of his last 12 games, Nocioni collected double-doubles. He’s also the best foul shooter on the team, hitting 84% of the time.
Chicago will also be looking for consistent play from point man Ben Gordon. Gordon, who led the team with 16.9 PPG, has had nights where he’s been 9 for 9 from three-point land and then other nights where he can’t buy a shot.
Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich offer solid defense; plus Deng is an accurate shooter (46%) and Hinrich an able assist guy (6.3 APG). Center Tyson Chandler has been a good defensive rebounder and impressive with 9 RPG (4th best in the NBA).
Chicago had quite a run down the stretch in what was playoff-like
action for them. Did all of that hard work exhaust the club
or was it simply a tune-up for what they hope is a very long
Maddux Sports Series Picks
Miami wins series 4-2
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