2013 NBA Playoffs – Eastern Conference Semifinals Game #3
#1 Miami Heat at #5 Chicago Bulls
Best of Seven Series Tied 1-1
Friday, May 10, 2013, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
United Center – Chicago, Illinois
Opening Line: Miami -6 1/2
Current Line: Miami -7 1/2
Opening Total: 188
Current Total: 187
Opening Money Line: Heat -300 / Bulls +250
Current Money Line: Heat -300 / Bulls +250
Twice this season the Chicago Bulls have snapped long winning streaks by the Miami Heat. On March 27 the Bulls ended the Heat’s 27 game winning streak, which was the second longest in NBA history. Then in game one of the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday, Chicago upset Miami 93-86 to snap a 12 game winning streak by the Heat. The Bulls were playing without Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, and Derrick Rose, and had just come off a grueling 7 game series against the Brooklyn Nets. The Heat had swept the Milwaukee Bucks and hadn’t played in 8 days. The Heat were 12 point favorites in that game, but the Bulls would close game one on a 10-0 run to steal home court advantage.
Game two was a different story though. Miami faced a must win situation and the game was very physical. The Heat were again made a 12 point favorite despite the game one loss. Miami would take a 25-20 lead at the end of the first. The Bulls hung around until just under 4 minutes to go in the second quarter. However, the Heat would then go on a 62-20 run over the next 3 quarters. LeBron James scored only 3 points in that stretch. Miami would lead by as many as 46 points, and would go on to win 115-78. It was the largest win in postseason history for the Heat and most lopsided loss in Bull’s postseason history. The game was very ugly and had 9 technical fouls, six by the Bulls. When the game was long decided in the fourth both Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were ejected for the Bulls. Miami shot 60% from the field and Chicago shot 35.5%. The Heat had 41 rebounds and the Bulls had 28.
Ray Allen led all scorers with 21 points off the bench for the Heat. James had 19 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Norris Cole scored 18 points and added 6 rebounds off the bench. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Mario Chalmers also scored in double figures. No Chicago player scored more than 13 points, and Noah, Nate Robinson and Marco Bellinelli were the only ones in double figures.
Now the series switches to Chicago for games three and four. The Bulls will likely be without Deng, Hinrich and Rose again. All three are listed as doubtful. Deng is out after complications from a spinal tap to test for meningitis. He has lost 15 pounds after suffering the illness. Hinrich is out with a calf injury and will reportedly need surgery. Rose tore his ACL in the first game of the playoffs last season. He has been practicing and working out with the team for the last 2 months. There are reports he could suit up for game three, but we don’t know how long he will play if he does at all. Noah will play but his foot isn’t close to 100%. He missed several games down the stretch of the regular season.
Miami is coached by Eric Spoelstra. The Heat are 49-38 ATS this season and the total is 43-42-2. Miami is outscoring teams 103-95 this season. The Heat are #5 in scoring and in points allowed. Miami is shooting 49.6% from the field and 39.6% from 3 point range. The Heat lead the league in field goal shooting and are #2 in 3 point shooting. Miami makes 75.4% of their free throws. The Heat are last in the league in rebounding at 38.6 per game, and fourth in rebounds allowed with 40.1. Miami opponents are shooting 44% from the field and 35% from 3 point range. Miami is 11th or better in both categories. The Heat average 23 assists, 8.7 steals, 5.4 blocks, and 13.3 turnovers per game.
In the playoffs, forward LeBron James is averaging 24.5 points, 7.8.1 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1 steal per game. He won his fourth MVP award Sunday. Guard Dwyane Wade averages 13.7 points, 7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 3 steals per game. He is probable with a bruised knee that kept him out of game 4 against Milwaukee . Forward/center Chris Bosh averages 12.8 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assists, and 1.8 blocks per game. Guard Ray Allen averages 16.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. Point guard Mario Chalmers averages 6.5 points, 3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Forward Shane Battier averages 5 points and 2.3 rebounds. Norris Cole, Rashard Lewis, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, and Chris Andersen make up the rest of the rotation.
The Bulls are coached by Tom Thibodeau. Chicago is outscoring teams 93.2-92.9 this season. The Bulls are 29th in scoring and 3rd in points allowed. The Bulls are shooting 43.7% from the field and 35.3% from 3 point range. Chicago is 21st or worse in both categories. The Bulls are #6 in free throw shooting making 77.3% from the line. Chicago averages 43.2 rebounds per game and give up 41.1 per game. Chicago is 8th or better in both categories. Bulls’ opponents are shooting 44.3% from the field and 34.6% from 3 point range. They are in the top 10 in both categories. Chicago averages 22.8 assists, 7.2 steals, 5.5 blocks, and 14.7 turnovers. Chicago is 40-51 ATS and the total is 43-47-1
In the playoffs, small forward Luol Deng averages 13.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1 steal per game. Forward Carlos Boozer averages 17.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Noah averages 11.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 3.1 blocks. He has a foot injury. Pojnt guard Nate Robinson averages 17 points, 1.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1 steal a game. He is probable after suffering a cut in his mouth Monday Night. Richard Hamilton, Marco Belinelli, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and Hinrich make up the rest of the rotation.
Miami is 4-1 ATS on one day rest and after scoring 100 points or more, 11-3 overall, against Eastern Conference teams, and against teams with winning home records, 7-2 after a straight up win of 10 points or more, and against Central Division, 20-6 in road games, 9-3 after a straight up win, 19-7-1 in conference semifinal games, 5-2 when the opponent allows points or more, and 7-3 after a cover. The under is 10-4 in the last 14 in Chicago in this series.
Chicago is 5-2 ATS in conference semifinal games, 35-16-1 in Friday games, 2-5 against Southeast teams, 2-6 at home, and 1-6 after the opponent scored 100 points or more. The Bulls are 15-7-2 ATS against the Heat recently in Chicago.
This will be a wild crowd, as the Bulls usually have. This game should be just as rough and physical as the bruising game two if not more so. That is the only chance Chicago has. Still, I think the Heat win. Now they won’t win by 37 like the last game, but I like the heat to win by double digits.