NBA Picks: Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls Game #4

2013 NBA Playoffs – Eastern Conference Semifinals Game #4
#1 Miami Heat at #5 Chicago Bulls
Heat Lead Best of Seven Series 2-1
Monday, May 13, 2013, 7:05 pm Eastern, TV:TNT
United Center – Chicago, Illinois
Opening Line: Miami -8 1/2
Current Line: Miami -7 1/2
Opening Total: 189
Current Total: 186 1/2
Opening Money Line: Heat -425 / Bulls +355
Current Money Line: Heat -400 / Bulls +330

Miami leads Chicago 2-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals as the teams meet for game 4 in Chicago.
Miami leads Chicago 2-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals as the teams meet for game 4 in Chicago.

The Miami Heat have won 8 straight road games dating back to the regular season. Of course the Heat have only lost 3 times in the last 44 games overall. Two of those losses came to the Chicago Bulls. One of those losses snapped a 27 game winning streak for the Heat, and the other was in game one of the Eastern Conference semifinals last week. The Bulls took the home court advantage with their 93-86 win in the first game, in which they closed the game on a 10-0 run. Miami would rebound in a big way in game two with a 115-78 rout in game two.

The series shifted to Chicago for game 3 Friday night. The shorthanded Bulls hoped to feed off their frenzied home crowd in the United Center, affectionately nicknamed the Madhouse on Madison. The Bulls were again without guards Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, and Derrick Rose. All three are doubtful for game 4 as well. Anyway, Chicago’s only hope was to turn it into an ugly physical contest more reminiscent of a football or hockey game than a basketball game. The game was back and forth for most of the game. In the second quarter, Lebron James was fouled hard by Bulls’ reserve center Nazr Mohammed. James turned around to say something to him and Mohammed shoved James, sending LeBron sprawling on the floor. Mohammed was ejected, and later Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau would accuse James of flopping on the play.

The Heat would pull away in the fourth against a pesky Bulls’ team. Miami would hold on for the 104-94 to regain home court advantage. Despite the physical play, both teams shot very well. Miami shot 50% from the field including 8/20 from 3 point range. Chicago shot 45.5% from the field. The Bulls made on 17 of 25 free throws, and Miami made 26 of 30. The Heat bench outscored the Bulls’ bench 38-8.

James led all scorers with 25 points and added 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals. Forward Chris Bosh had 20 points, 19 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. Guard Norris Cole scored 18 points off the bench. All five Bulls’ starters scored in double figures. Forward Carlos Boozer had 21 points. Guard Nate Robinson scored 17 points, and added 7 assists and 6 rebounds. Forward Jimmy Butler also scored 17 points. Joakim Noah scored 15 points and had 11 rebounds.

Miami is coached by Eric Spoelstra. The Heat are 50-38 ATS this season and the total is 44-42-2. 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.  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 40-52 ATS and the total  is 44-47-1

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, Mohammed and Hinrich make up the rest of the rotation.

Miami is 4-0 ATS against teams with winning home records, 7-1 on two days rest, 5-1 after scoring 100 points or more, 12-3 in Eastern Conference teams, 8-2 against Central Division teams, 7-2 after a straight up win, 21-6 in road games,   16-5 overall, 6-2 after the opponent allows 100 points or more, 20-7-1 in conference semifinal games, 8-3 after a cover, and 11-5 against teams with winning records.

Chicago is 4-0 ATS after a double digit home loss, 4-1 in Monday games, 2-6 against Southeast Division teams, 6-21-1 on two days rest, 1-4 at home, and 1-7 after the opponent scores 100 points or more. The over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings between the teams.

The gritty Bulls won’t quit and could certainly win tonight even shorthanded. However, Miami is simply a better team. Many though the Heat would wilt in a physical game, but the Heat were able to get down and dirty in a gutsy game 3 win. People are saying, the Bulls need to make it even more physical. Short of committing murder, i don’t know if that is even possible. I see a similar game to game 3 with the Heat pulling away late.

Our NBA handicappers are red hot in the playoffs. Don’t miss out on any more winners this season.



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