After long layoff, Heat host battered Bulls

USA TODAY Sports

Although injured, this proud Chicago Bulls team will compete with Miami. It just won't be enough to defeat the defending champions in a seven-game series.

Without Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich, the Chicago Bulls defeated the Brooklyn Nets on the road Saturday 99-93 to advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs. The battered Bulls won't have much time to savor its Game 7 win, though, as the team will face the well-rested Miami Heat Monday at 7 p.m. for Game 1 of the best-of-seven series.

Miami wrapped up its first-round sweep of the Milwaukee Bucks last Sunday, enjoying a full week of rest before playing again. Although some fans believe that teams can come out rusty after long layoffs, the Heat's quick disposal of the Bucks enabled Dwyane Wade -- the team's second-best player -- to fully recover from the knee injury that held him out of the last game of the first-round series. The 2006 NBA Finals MVP returned to full practice activity May 3, but Erik Spoelstra said that he won't know Wade's status for Game 1 until Monday.

The Chicago Bulls face much more significant injury concerns than Miami does, of course. Deng did not travel with the team to South Florida, so Chicago won't have an extra defender to throw at 4-time MVP LeBron James. Jimmy Butler, who played all 48 minutes in Game 7 Saturday night, will face the unenviable task of defending James. With such a depleted roster, the Chicago players will employ everything in their arsenals to stop James -- including some hard fouls. After the Bulls snapped Miami's 27-game winning streak March 28, James questioned some fouls he sustained.

This Bulls team won't back down, even with an inferior roster and injuries. Miami will need to limit Chicago's offensive rebounding opportunities -- which means LeBron James will have to play big as the nominal power forward -- and utilize its disciplined, creative offense to overcome Chicago's stingy defense. This series will be infinitely more entertaining than a Heat/Nets series would have been if only because of the excitement it will inevitably stir. The Bulls will compete with Miami, but the Heat should win this series in five games. Chicago's injuries simply leave the team with too little firepower to turn a series against a team with James, Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen in doubt.

Looking for Miami Heat tickets? Hot Hot Hoops has you covered.

We also invite you to follow Hot Hot Hoops on Twitter and like Hot Hot Hoops on Facebook.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Hot Hot Hoops

You must be a member of Hot Hot Hoops to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hot Hot Hoops. You should read them.

Join Hot Hot Hoops

You must be a member of Hot Hot Hoops to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hot Hot Hoops. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker