Huzzah! Another edition of the Hot Hot Bullets. As always, if I missed anything worth mentioning, send me a link.
- All series the Heat have done a nice job of slowing the Bulls' bread and butter, the pick and roll. One of the reasons the Heat have been able to shut Chicago down is the Heat's team speed. My podcasting buddy, Mosi Platt, pointed this out a long time ago.
- Joakim Noah had been doing a good job of attacking the Heat's pick and roll defense. But as Sebastian Pruiti points out, Coach Spoelstra made some adjustments that limited his effectiveness in the 4th quarter of Game 3.
- Speaking of adjustments, Erick Spoelstra has had to make quite a few this series against the Bulls. Not much credit has been given to Spo this year, especially not compared to Tom Thibodeau. Beckley Mason takes a look at how Spo has adjusted to play Chicago.
- All season long the Heat have had to deal with the stigma assiciated with not having a traditional big man. And all season the Heat have played defense at the rim better than the rest of the league (according to HoopData). Against the Bulls, the Heat defense has been particularly stifling. Couper Moorhead at Heat.com has some video and data to explain why it's been so tough for the Bulls to score inside, and why the Heat may have a hard time keeping it up.
- There's a cool video at the bottom of Tom Haberstroh's piece on the Heat's point guards.
- Last night Chris Bosh had a breakout scoring performance, but I thought the best player on the floor was LeBron James. John Krolik details how James was able to impact the game without scoring.
- Last night the Chicago Bulls wanted to up the pace. Kelly Dwyer, in his fantastic Behind the Boxscore, explains that it just didn't happen.
- "All the Heat do is stand around and take turns with the ball" was a common refrain this season. Zach Lowe addresses the issue in number four at the bottom of this post.
- Chris Bosh has been fantastic on the defensive end of the floor all season and into this postseason. Coming from Toronto, this is something many people probably didn't see coming. Well, Bosh's defensive progress started long ago in China at the 2008 Summer Olympics as explained by Tom Haberstroh.
- The Heat are still stuck at 6-14 in games decided by five points or less. Want to know how much this means? Nothing. The Heat have put teams away all season and the postseason has been no different (again, from Tom Haberstroh).
- Despite the Heat being such a big draw, Pat Riley and other Heat executives have been quiet. Dan LeBatard says that's exactly they way they want it.
- On a more serious note, last night featured an unfortunate incident including a fan and Joakim Noah. Kevin Arnovitz had a sit down with Noah to try and get an understanding of why Noah said what he did. Similar incidents occured with Kobe Bryant uttering the same words and with LeBron James calling a question "retarded." Andy Hutchins takes a look at how the situations compare. I think it's a good read considering what happen with Noah last night.
That's all I've got for the links. As for the series at hand, Games 2 and 3 have played out like I expected the series to. The Heat and Bulls both have fantastic defenses, but the Heat's offense is substantially better than Chicago's. I have a hard time believing the Bulls can score effectively enough to match the Heat. Offensive rebounds will remain key for the Bulls. If they can get second chance opportunities, they can hang with the Heat.
I love what the addition of Udonis Haslem has meant to the Heat on both ends of the court. On the offensive side he provides another reliable pick and roll or pick and pop option. Something the Heat lacked with Joel Anthony on the floor. On defense, Haslem gives the Heat three mobile big men capable of attacking the Bulls pick and roll. So far it's been extremely effective. I NEVER would have guessed UD could have this sort of impact. On the personal side I am thrilled for him, as Haslem represents everything the Heat organization is about. Good for him to show up and play well on this stage.
Game 4 is of utmost importance. If the Heat can pull it out, the Bulls will be in serious trouble. Only eight teams have climbed out of 3-1 holes in NBA history. I believe the Heat will win, but I also thought they'd sweep the Bulls, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt.
Enjoy the game, it should be great theater.
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