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Eastern Conference Finals Preview: Bulls and Heat

The Eastern Conference Finals are now set as the Chicago Bulls eliminated the Atlanta Hawks last night, because of Oprah they will play Game 1 against the Heat on Sunday night.

There is no clear front runner in this series. Both teams slugged it out in the regular season, Chicago won all three games but their greatest margin of victory was only four points and I don’t expect it to be any different in this series.

Miami’s superstar duo are playing much better basketball at the moment than they did in regular season but Derrick Rose has proven that no one can defend him. It might be two against one in the superstar department however I believe that the game will not be won and lost there.

What will be the ‘X’ factor in this series?

Those “other guys” are going to play a huge roll for both teams and the Bulls have more depth. Deng, Boozer, Noah are Chicago’s main “other guys” as opposed to Miami’s Chris Bosh and on the occasion James Jones and Mario Chalmers. The main focus will be on both front courts because Chicago has the right personnel to punish Miami’s lack of interior presence. In their three regular season meetings Chicago out-rebounded the Heat by 10 and had 9 more second chance points. Bosh, Anthony, Howard or Ilgauskas will have to step up and limit the second chance opportunities the Bulls will get with Boozer, Noah and Asik hitting the glass hard.

Picking a winner is extremely difficult between these two teams. On one side you have two unstoppable players that will always have you in the game but on the other there is an MVP and a very good team backing him.

For me the series will ultimately come down to controlling the paint, as Chicago have a better front court I have to side with them.

Chicago Bulls in 6 games.

Until next time..

D.B.

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Miami Heat: Their Championship to Lose?

Last night the Miami Heat came one step closer to that first championship in LeBron James – Dwyane Wade era, closing out the series against the Boston Celtics on their home floor. After the final siren James and Wade celebrated the victory as if they had won the title, their jubilation was however somewhat fitting as the Celtics were responsible for eliminating the Heat and James’ former team the Cleveland Cavaliers from last year’s playoffs.

Winning this series against Boston has built up a lot of talk about how the title is theirs for the taking. If they can dispose of such a high class opponent in five games, who is going to stop them? James and Wade are unstoppable on offense, their defense has been very solid and the most consistent part of their game and those other guys (Bosh, Chalmers and Jones) have had good games every once in a while too.

So the Miami Heat are the 2011 NBA Champions, right? Wrong, the thing that set the Heat apart from Boston in this series is the ability to make plays in the fourth quarter.

Being a veteran side you would think the Celtics would excel down the final stretch of a game, however if you didn’t know they had a couple of finals appearances and a championship you would have thought they were a young and inexperienced team. Turning the ball over on bad passes, making bad decisions in transition and forcing up bad shots is very unlike the Celtics. I would like to say that Miami’s defense was so good that they forced them into these mistakes but in reality they were mostly unforced errors, it seems as though the age factor and a one armed point guard caught up to them. As a result the Heat’s superstar duo capitalized and made the right plays, much like Dallas did against the Lakers.

Related article: The Heat and Championships

Miami is yet to be truly tested, I believe that next round’s match up against the Bulls or the Hawks will bring out their best and their worst.

Of all the teams that have exited the playoffs, their greatest flaws were exposed and exploited. Miami hasn’t come up against a team that has been able to successfully do that. In Game 3 Boston showed us that Miami is lacking when it comes to their front court, Garnett was way too dominant for them to do anything about it.

It will be up to Boozer, Noah and Asik or Horford and Pachulia to control that paint and hit Miami where they are weakest. Until that happens the Heat will be too hard to stop.

Until next time..

D.B.

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NBA: Out with the old, in with the New

We knew it was coming but I don’t think anyone would have imagined it happening so quickly. The end to the veteran teams is here, whether you like it or not. We have already seen the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers crash out of the playoffs in the first two rounds.

Of the remaining teams there are two true veteran sides left, the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics and they are doing everything they can to prolong their stay at the top of the NBA food chain.

But there will come a time where the younger sides catch up and overtake them, it may have already happened. The part after that is the most frightening because you don’t know when your team will have a legitimate chance to compete for a championship again. It is evident that the Spurs – Lakers era has come to an end (that is if the Lakers don’t get Dwight Howard) Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant cannot put up the numbers they used to when they carried their teams.

It’s sad and depressing to think that sooner rather than later we will see our favorite players taking a back seat to younger talent. As their numbers decline, playing time gets reduced and if they chose not to retire we will be able to find them in another uniform sitting on the end of the bench like Shaquille O’Neal.

But there is a light to this, with all these old guys stepping aside there will be room for new and upcoming talent to fill that void and for current stars to win some silverware that may be the only thing missing from their trophy collection. Yes that’s directed specifically to LeBron, but I would love to Dwight and Kevin Durant to win the MVP and a championship during the next ten years while they are still in their primes.

There are very bright days ahead for the NBA, I wish I could say the same for the veteran teams mentioned as it is win now or possibly lose your chance for a long time.

Until next time..

D.B.

Do you have thoughts on this topic? Reply in the comments section. We are now on Facebook click here to visit and ‘like’ our page. Follow us on twitter @hoopsweblog and subscribe to get regular updates.

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