Miami Heat AT Chicago Bulls
May 26, 2011 at 8:30 PM EST
Opening Line: CHI -2.5
Current Line: CHI -3
Opening Total: 179.5
Current Total: 179.5
Miami Leads Series 3-1
In many respects, the Bulls have found they just don’t have what it takes to match up against a team with three top tier all stars.
While Derrick Rose has been impressive all year, leading the Bulls to probably 10 more wins than people expected, he hasn’t been able to get off against the Heat and having 6’8″ LeBron James in his face in game 4 didn’t help. And it wasn’t just defense that James contributed. He also scored 35 points, though he did hit less than 50% of his shots from the field. He also played nearly 50 minutes. Also, despite being only a 75% free throw shooter, he went 13 of 13 from the line.
While his teammate Dwyane Wade didn’t help out a lot offensively, he did play excellent defense, including coming up with three of his four blocked shots in overtime. The Heat recorded 10 blocks as a team, with the offensively challenged Joel Anthony accounting for 4, as well.
Mike Miller was a pleasant surprise for the Heat. He nailed 2 threes and 5 shots of 8 overall, while recording a ridiculous team leading +36. He also tied Haslem for the team lead in rebounds with 9. It was sweet redemption for Miller who had only played more than 10 minutes in 2 other games in this year’s playoffs. He’s battled injuries but appears to have turned the corner now, and at no better time for the Heat. Their lineup in the fourth quarter included Miller and Haslem lining up with the “big 3.”
Wade realizes that this game won’t be easy and that the Bulls aren’t going to simply throw in the towel after battling so hard all season. “We understand it’s going to be a tough game,” Wade said. “But we have the team and we have the guys that are capable of showing up and putting on a performance that we need to win the game. It’s not going to be pretty, but that’s not Miami Heat basketball anyway.”
The three game skid against the Heat was the first three game losing streak of the entire season for the Bulls, but Luol Deng reiterated what Wade already knows: “There’s no quit in that locker room. It’s going to come down to the end of the game again.” Derrick Rose isn’t anywhere near ready to capitulate either, saying “We still have games to play.” The fact he said “games” instead of just “game” indicates his confidence that the series won’t end tonight. Even if his Bulls do win, however, they are going to have to steal another road game in Miami, where the Heat have not lost yet in this year’s postseason.
As I mentioned in the last game preview, a team that takes a 3-1 lead goes on to win 96% of all series, with the comeback only having happened 8 times in 199 series.
The Bulls have hit just 14 of 67 threes after hitting 10 of 21 in game 1. They also turned it obver 22 times in Tuesday’s loss including two on back to back possessions in the overtime, which pretty much locked it up for the Heat. Seven of the 22 turnovers were committed by Derrick Rose, while he had only 6 assists. It’s never a good sign when your best player has more turnovers than assists. He also had his shot blocked 4 times, which is essentially four more turnovers. All in all, Rose shot just 8 of 27 from the floor and hit only 1 of 9 threes. It’s hard to blame him though because he seems to have lost a lot of trust in his teammates.
“I think it came down to hustle plays,” Chalmers said. “At first they (Chicago Bulls) were beating us to all the 50/50 balls. In the fourth quarter and the overtime, we were able to beat them to all the 50/50 balls and that’s what helped us win.”
Some betting trends:
Miami is 5-1 SU in their last 6 games and the total has gone OVER in 5 of their last 6 games. The Heat are 8-3 SU in their last 11 games on the road and the Heat are 3-10 SU in their last 13 games on the road against the Chicago Bulls. The Heat are 5-14 ATS in their last 19 road games against the Bulls and the total has gone UNDER in 7 of the Heat’s last 9 games on ther road in Chicago.
The Bulls are 18-6 SU in their last 24 games and 22-3 SU in their last 25 at home. The total has gone UNDER in 7 of the Bulls’ last 9 games at home against the Heat and the Bulls are 10-3 SU in their last 13 home games against the Heat.
With the Bulls’ season on the line, and being at home, you can expect them to come out in desperation mode and play hard early on. That may not be enough, though, if the Miami defense is as strong as it was on Tuesday night. The Bulls are going to need big games from Boozer and Deng again, who combined for 40 points in game 4. The Heat’s big 3 combined for 71 points, though, bringing the Heat’s record to 39-5 when the Big 3 scores 70+