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Dialing Down the Hype Machine

May 18, 2011

It's tough not to drink too much of this stuff when you're in Chicago for playoff games. (Photo credit: toplessrobot.com)

[setting aside a cup of kool-aid]

Ok,  Sunday was a gorgeous display of everything that exemplifies Bulls basketball [teamwork, defense, and effort].  It’s been great to be in Chicago, where there are Bulls flags flying outside of office buildings and statues wearing Rose jerseys.  However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves – there’s still quite a bit of basketball to watch and there are definitely some things that happened in the first game that may not appear in Game 2:

  • Bulls’ hot 3-pt shooting – the Bulls shot a better percentage from outside the 3-pt line (48%) than from inside the 3-pt line (42%) due in a large part due to Luol’s 4 of 6 performance and the team’s timely rebounding.  The Bulls don’t live/die by the 3-pt shot but D.Rose has been known to take about 5 too many 3-pt shots every game.  Hopefully this is under control and I doubt that Luol will be shooting 67% from 3-pt land every game.  Upside?  The hot shooting doesn’t include Hot Sauce, aka Kyle Korver, who only made one shot.  If he gets his stroke going in any of these games, it’ll completely alter Miami’s defense.
  • Luol’s incredible performance on both ends of the floor – looks like the rest of the world figured out why Thibodeau (and the Yin Seeesters) love Luol so much.  For a guy who gives up 30 lbs to LeBron, Luol made life a little more difficult for LeBron on Sunday.  Somehow I suspect that LeBron will be dialed in on Wednesday night and ready to drive to the basket.  It wouldn’t surprise me if LeBron went off for 37-39 points and Luol will undoubtedly log lots of minutes trying to keep that to 25-30 points.  If Luol is successful, his contribution on the offensive end might suffer.
  • D.Wade’s poor performance – it’s odd to see one of the best shooting guards in the game miss point-blank layups.  Not sure if it was the nerves of playing back in Chicago, as one would imagine that he’s got to be mostly over that by now, but it was definitely his first time back post-divorce and in a playoff situation post-Decision.  Nevertheless, expect a couple of big performances out of him.  Ronnie Brewer had a great game against him but I expect Dwyane to drive to the basket and draw more fouls.  Speaking of…
  • Below-average foul shooting for the Heat – the Big Three are great at drawing fouls, particularly LeBron and Dwyane.  Between LeBron and D.Wade alone, the duo averages somewhere between 22-25 foul shots a game.  During Game 1?  They shot 10 total.  Credit the Bulls with containing LeBron and D.Wade without fouling but it’ll be trickier to repeat the feat.  I’m hoping that we catch D.Wade complaining about lack of calls and rush out for a few transition buckets.

At this point, I’ve read entirely too many articles about Game 1 and the series in general.  Tonight will be an interesting game and regardless of how the Heat react, I know we’ll see more of the defensive energy that was so crucial in Game 1.  Question is whether or not it will be enough to overtake focused effort from the Big Three.

I think I’ll go back to drinking my kool-aid now (and watching this).  By the way, I might need to find room in my apartment for this.

-Jocelyn

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