Note: I wrote this after the Bull's won game 6 of the Atlanta series, but due to a flood of DBD's never had the chance to post it. If you want you can read over the match-up stuff and see what I got right and what I got wrong. Now back to your regularly scheduled program.
As expected last night was a great victory for the faithful. While under-performing against subpar competition the Bulls looked far from the number the one seed they earned over the course of the regular season. Nonetheless, three rounds into the playoffs their second season record stands at 8-3, and face their most daunting task to date, the Miami Heat. Many people hate the Heatles, are apprehensive about Boshstriches, and weary of Miami flavoured refereeing. I am not one of these people, yet, I hope the Heat are murdered, reanimated, then murdered again, burned, and have their ashes urinated on by the South Park Christmas Critters. Clearly, I am a Bulls supporter. I know only a small contingent of basketball fans exist in this virtual space, but I am here to recruit you to the side of good.
The first reason to root for the Bulls is the MVP. Sure, you can argue about the value of his statistics, but you can't argue with his exciting brand of play. The quickest and most acrobatic guard in the NBA, Rose frequently explodes with the spontaneous and the spectacular, yielding highly endearing and exciting play.
Derrick Rose Highlights (2010-11 NBA MVP-on-and-off the court) w/ MVP speech tribute to mom | HD (via kunehua)
Reason number two: Luol Deng, great human being. He is an official spokesman for the UNHCR, World Food Programme, The Lost Boys of Sudan, the Nothing But Nets program, and participant in this humorous photo.
Reason number three: Are you a fan of random yelling? If so, watch Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah! Both are huge fans of random yelling. Noah likes to shake his fists while yelling after the play, and Boozer likes yells in lieu of playing defense.
Reason number four: Joakim Noah, he is surprisingly the daughter of a model and former Miss Universe contestant (Sweden). He is also the player you love to hate when he is on the other team, if he is on your team you love him. Either way you are going to have an emotional reaction to him, therefore you are left with a choice; be a lover or a hater. Hint: Haters suck.
He also has an attractive sister.
Reason five: Lebron is a furd fan. Okay I made that up.
1. Derrick Rose v Chalmers/Bibby: Going back to their college days Chalmers has always done a sneaky good job playing against Rose. If Rose cheats off of him, Chalmers has the ability to hit the open shot, or drive opening up another pass. Defensively Chalmers can't stay in front of him, but he does use his hands well to swipe at the ball, and Rose can be careless with the ball at times. Although, this is a big advantage for Chicago, it is not as wide as most people expect. As for Bibby, the dude is washed up and worthless, I doubt Miami ever has him guard Rose as he would get killed. Bibby also is a perfect player for the Bulls to hide Kyle Korver's defensive inadequacies with. Thus, the more Bibby time the better.
2. Wade v Bogans/Brewer/Korver: Huge advantage Wade. The Bulls will probably use a three guard rotation in defending Wade each with a different set of skills: Bogans, will use his strength to body him; Brewer will use his length to take away the shot, and poke at the ball when Wade drives; Rose will play close on him trying to body him and out-athlete him not allowing Wade to the hoop. The intent will be to have the rotation of players wear Wade down as the game and series progresses.
3. James v Deng: Advantage James. James is the most naturally talented player in the league. Deng was a massive all-defensive team snub, and usually plays very well against James. James will win the one on one contest every night, but Deng will make him work for everything on offense, while keeping him honest on defense. Again, an advantage Miami, but not as vast as most suspect.
4. The Big Men: Advantage Bulls. Boozer and Bosh is a Battle of the underwhelming bigs. In all likelihood, Noah will be tasked with defending Bosh, and Noah will perform admirably. He has the length to take the outside shot away, and the foot speed to keep pace off the dribble. On the block, they are about equal. I also tend to believe Noah is mentally stronger than Bosh. Noah has a championship pedigree from two national titles at Florida. Bosh admitted nerves caused a poor outing in game 3 of the semi-finals. Noah also kept another all-star big from a perimeter oriented team in check during the Atlanta series, and I expect similar results. Specifically, at least two few dreadful games from Bosh this series.
As for Boozer, he'll defend whichever below average center Miami chooses to play. Offensively, I am not expecting much from Booze. Yes, his lift and explosiveness appears to be returning, and his scoring touch also looked good the last few games against Atlanta, but he still gets himself in foul trouble (off stupid shit). Bosh is the long, athletic big man that has given Boozer fits all season. Defensively, with Noah guarding Bosh on the perimeter, Boozer will be in charge of defending the rim. A task he is horribly suited for. He can't jump, has short stubby arms, and does not rotate on defense. As for his rebounding which is usually strong, with the cross-switch in effect, Boozer will be severely outsized, meaning he will have to push more than usual (and he pushes a lot) to establish position, so expect those fouls to rack up early and often.
I am not expecting much from whomever is playing opposite Bosh for Miami. Several rebounds, a few put backs, a block or two and a bunch of hard fouls on Rose is the expectation.
5. The other guys: Advantage Chicago: This is a huge advantage. Unlike Boston and Philly's other guys, Chicago's other guys are vastly superior in defense and rebounding. James Jones stroking the three-ball will not happen against Chicago. The Bull's fifth big man (Kurt Thomas) is arguably better than Miami's second, and I am drooling about the potential pairing of Omer Asik and Noah to both defend the paint and Bosh. CJ Watson for the Bulls is a mixed bag, sometimes he plays extremely well in attacking the basketball and sending passes to Korver breaking off double-screens, other times he does either nothing or everything, resulting in nothing or bad shots and turnovers.
Overall, the keys to the series will be how well the Miami's bigs defend the hoop against Rose. How many points the other Bulls players can make up against the other Miami players. The Bulls decisively winning the production battle between Boozer/Noah and Bosh. Most intriguing will be how Thibs adapts to the Heat's small ball line-up with Chalmers/Wade/Jones/James/Anthony (most likely). Thibs has been reluctant to play small all season, and I can envision him going super big to counter with Noah guarding Chalmers on the weakside of the paint. He tried this earlier in the season with poor results. I would prefer Taj or Asik playing on Anthony to help defend the front of the hoop, but we will see. Conversely, it will be interesting to see who Spoelstra uses to guard Rose in crunch time. I hope it is Lebron because I believe Lebron is much more valuable and effective as a weakside shot blocker against Rose, rather than the primary defender Rose simply drives by.
Unfortunately, I think the heat will win in six. Thus, PUT ON THAT RED SHIRT!!! And, go Bulls!
BULL V. BEAR: FATALITY!
Random side note: According to Mike Davis in Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster in the decades surrounding 1900 it was common practice on a Sunday afternoon to place a California Brown Bear and a Bull in a ring together and watch them duel. The Bull would win the majority of the contests.