Rosen’s Report: Bulls at Heat



With the ancient Celtics having recently exposed the Magic’s lack of heart — not once but twice! — the Bulls and the Heat are currently the only viable contenders to rule the Eastern Conference.  Sunday’s game in Miami provides a wonderful opportunity for Chicago to chill the Heat’s championship pretensions.

Meanwhile, the home standing Heat have the opportunity to prevent the Bulls from even dreaming that they can compete on equal terms with the holdover conference champs.  Again, in this compacted and bizarre season, every game has an enhanced and disproportional importance.

HOW THE BULLS CAN WIN: Derrick Rose has become the most potent point guard in the NBA.  Although his unselfishness and considerable ball-time result in his being one of the league’s leading assist-makers, Rose is really the Bulls’ go-to scorer.   That’s because his shooting stroke has greatly improved, he’s nearly as strong as a power-forward, and his quickness and speed are otherworldly.  Indeed, where other players are celebrated for the quickness of their first-step, Rose accelerates as he approaches the rim — making his second- and third-steps incredibly unique.  Also, players necessarily lose a half-beat when they resort to some kind of crossover dribble, but Rose’s changes-of-direction likewise amp up his quickness.  And with Dwayne Wade not at 100 percent, none of Miami’s backcourtsmen can contain Rose.


* Despite Rose’s domination of the ball, his assist:turnover ratio is a sterling 2.69.  This careful handling will curtail the Heat’s opportunities to ignite their running game.

* Rip Hamilton sets the standard for perpetual off-the-ball movement.  Since Miami’s bigs have to diligently help as Hamilton uses a variety of combo-screens to curl, dive, fade, and/or go backdoor, the Heat’s interior defense will be seriously compromised.  The kicker here is that Hamilton’s jumpers have to fall at a much more consistent rate that they have of late.

* Although Shane Battier is seldom out of position, he has lost a step on defense and is no longer a stopper.  Another reason why Hamilton could have a huge game.

* At 6’7”, 220 pounds, Ronnie Brewer has the size and the defensive chops to make LeBron James sweat to create good looks.  Brewer also hustles in transition, and is an underrated slasher.

* Carlos Boozer is a strong-handed rebounder whose turn-around jumpers are impossible to block.  He can also bully Chris Bosh in the low-post and in the battle of the boards. Bosh also tends to wander when playing off-the-ball defense.

* Joakim Noah’s long-armed rebounding, shot-blocking, and pass-deflecting could be critical since he can ignore Joel Anthony’s invisible offense and freely roam the lane.

* The Bulls have a well-rounded and highly effective second-unit:  Kyle Korver provides the outside shooting; C. J. Watson pushes the ball and plays scrappy defense; Brian Scalabrine plays more than adequate position defense, can routinely drop treys, and is a savvy passer; and Omer Asik can defend, rebound, throw accurate outlet passes, set massive screens, and commit hard fouls.

* If Luol Deng returns to action, he provides another player besides Rose who can create his own shots.

*When Bosh sets up in an iso-mode, his teammates generally become  spectators.  Plus, when Bosh post on the right side of the court he likes to take his right hand to the baseline—on the left wing, he looks to shoot his jumper. This predictability plays into the hands of the defensive-minded Bulls.

*Miami’s frequent lack of hustle in transition defense can be torched when Chicago forces turnovers and bad shots.  In fact, the Heat average over seventeen turnovers per game, second-worst in the league.

* As extraordinary a player as LBJ is, he tends to force his dribble into rush-hour traffic.  He’s thirteenth in assists (7.2 per game), and fourth in most TOs (3.9).  Overall, sixty-two players have a better assist:turnover ratio than LeBron’s 1.84.  The Bulls have the knack of transforming TOs into easy scores.

* Chicago leads the pack in team-rebounding and are therefore primed to take full advantage of Miami’s inability to adequately command their offensive glass.

HOW THE HEAT CAN WIN:  For all his other flaws, LeBron is simply the most talented non-center extant.  (Comparing centers to non-centers is as non-productive as comparing pitchers to hitters.)  If his bombs are finding their targets, the Bulls defense will be stretched beyond their capacity to seal every lane and every gap.  Even more than Rose, James has the chops to simply take over any given game—and he absolutely must convert his free throws.

* Wade’s return will require some time to get him re-integrated into the total game plan, but he does add another electric presence to the offense, thereby taking considerable pressure off of both Bosh and James while greatly increasing the pressure on Chicago’s defense.

* Mario Chalmers has to shoot well and avoid making mistakes with the ball.  Ditto for Mike Miller, James Jones, and Norris Cole.

* Battier, Anthony, and Udonis Haslem excel at drawing charges.  In addition, Haslem’s mid-range accuracy and aggressive defense off the bench are significant advantages.

* When LBJ is doubled on a wing, either swift reversal-passes or skip-passes always find an open wing-shooter.

* The Heat show terrific defensive rotations on baseline drives.

* Rose frequently over-penetrates and will force shots when bigs collapse in the paint and interfere with his ability to spot open shooters.

* Boozer plays no defense, will fumble his dribble when two-timed in the low-post, has been reduced to primarily a jump shooter, and seldom plays well against elite teams.

* Since Noah can be pushed around in the pivot, strategic screen/rolls can force him to switch on to LeBron — who can simply abuse him down there.

* Since Brewer’s jumpers are questionable, his defender can help elsewhere.

* If Deng is still out, Rose must score points by the dozen.  Miami would then be able to focus their defense at Rose with great success.

* Bosh has to nail his mid-range jumpers.

* The Heat cannot rely exclusively on LeBron’s passes to implement the kind of timely ball-movement necessary to overcome Chicago’s stingy defense,

* Both Korver and Scalabrine have limited mobility on defense, and Watson can neither shoot nor avoid forcing shots.  Heads up play by Miami’s second-stringers could turn the game in their favor.

* The Heat have developed an unfortunate tendency to play with little or no intensity against weak teams, but they should be ready to rumble from tip to buzzer.  Specifically, they must be more physical on defense than they often are.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. If Wade and/or Deng play, will their rustiness be exploited?
  2. Can Miami’s bigs provide sufficient help to prevent Rose from turning the corner on high screen/rolls?
  3. Since Rose depends mostly on his quickness, his hops, and his sheer talent to play defense, will his lack of fundamentals be attacked and cause him to be saddled with foul trouble?
  4. The outcome could easily depend on which team scores more on the run.
  5. It makes total sense for Noah to guard Bosh and Boozer to stick with Anthony in the endgame.  It also makes sense for Miami to follow suit.

Charley Rosen is a former pro basketball player and coach and author of 16 books on basketball.

57 Comments

  1. Who Wants The Trophy The Baddest says:

    Lebron Wade Bosh want it the baddest .Noah said it all they are Hollywood As Hell …but they are GOOD…all the haters shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Miami got the W

  2. Fact says:

    This game is supposed to be a draw in my opinion except Lebron James ride a bike towards the AAA, then dunked above John Lucas, he also has 35+ points go along with other stats.

  3. Law064 says:

    Good game and a couple missed FT’s were the differance, this is 1 of 4 for the season we’ll see a good matchup when these teams play regular season or playoffs. Go Bulls Go Celtic’s!!!!

    • LOL says:

      No the Heatt controlled the entire game and never once did the Bulls lead. Teams make runs just like the Bulls did. But the Heat swatted em back everytime.

      • Law064 says:

        Swatted them back?? Define that please.. With the 2 FT’s missed plus that ridiculous jump ball call how do you call that swatted back. Miami escaped by the skin of their butts. No Deng No Watson and if I saw what everyone saw vs NY Wade is definately back maybe not 100% I give him 85-90% though. It was a good game, yes Miami lead all game but shows they can’t close out games. If Rose makes those FT’s where was Miami going to LBJ?? Maybe Bosh cause he was hot all game. This will be a great matchup for the rest of the season Miami escaped with the 1st game plain and simple.

      • LOL says:

        No they didnt. The Heat missed a couple shots to let them back in it and the the Bulls made a few. Wow, that happens right. And NO that inadvertent whistle was in the Bulls favor considering that Wade CLEARLY AND CLEANLY saved the ball while he was in bounds to Bosh. So yea Miami DID close out the game did they not? And didnt YOUR superstar Rose miss 2 free throws in the 4th quarter in crunchtime ALSO?

        WOOWOWOW I guess like I said before about Lebron, it happens the BEST of em doesnt it? YEP sure does. Happened to MJ too.

        Miami didnt ESCAPE with anything. THey CONTROLLED 75% of the game, and didnt allow the other team to lead. Thats by definition NOT escaping. Sorry bout it.

  4. Well deserves this win. Keeps the high level on heat.

  5. MIAMI says:

    Who have link on this match?

  6. teddy says:

    It’s simple folks….Heat will win it all this season….GAMETIME!

  7. DianneSalas says:

    It is gonna be a big break! Especially for the HEAT. They are really doing better lately… I would not wonder if they will win this fight. I SO LOVE,LOVE,LOVE the Heat =)))))

  8. Car Tuning says:

    Go Miami.. LeBron don’t choke in the finals! lol

  9. JPR says:

    My predictions:

    James will drop his shoulder and plow people over 13 times this game. Ten of those times a foul will be called on the Bulls and three will go uncalled.

    Wade will pump fake and throw his body into the Bulls at least 4 times this game. All 4 times will be a foul called on the Bulls.

    Rose will be fouled at least two times every time he drives to the basket. He will net maybe 3 calls out them.

    The Stern’s Heat will shoot 20+ more free throws than the Bulls.

    James will accidentally bump into a cheerleader, then throw is body all over the court looking for the call. He will probably get it.

    • LOL says:

      Rose palms the ball, on 96% of his dribbling, including even worse palming violations on his crossovers.

      Rose snaps his head back as he plows into defenders to bump them off and create space and get a bad foul call.

      The Bulls lose by 4.

      BLAHAHAHAHAHA

  10. Anton says:

    Eh, Bulls, it looks like no Deng, Hamilton or CJ to come off the bench.

    This game meant nothing before…it means even less now.

    • LOL says:

      RIght, right, nice way to try to downplay it when you are figuring your Bulls are just gonna lose, which they did. Miami not at 100% either. Wade is back but definitely not all the way. These games ALWAYS mean SOMETHING, just not EVERYTHING, but you can keep telling yourself those things to help you sleep better, its ok.

  11. HeatFTW! says:

    Now that the Heat have Wade back, LeBron and Wade should be doing their thing tonight…..just like against the Knicks. The only reason why the Knicks were even close in the last game was because they were shooting extraordinarily well from the 3 point line. I’m seeing LOB CITY EAST taking over tonight! Will it be an easy win?…..no…..this game will be close. The Heat honestly should win anyways…..they have more talent than the Bulls

  12. Puddu says:

    Go Bulls from Italy! Rose for MVP!

  13. RakaBull says:

    Time for da’ Bulls to step up and make a statement – GO CHICO BULLS!

  14. Jaykwan says:

    The Heat “should” win this game if both Deng and Rip are out; I’m not sure if both are. But I have faith in these Bulls.

    This should be a good one.

    • Brennan says:

      Yey if Deng and rip play it will be a better game but if they dont ronnie brewer and kyle korver and cj watson hav to step up

  15. kobe and rose fan says:

    Lebrons gone run rose over!!

  16. big fan says:

    mierda de comentario nada objetivo y como de costumbre muy en contra de miami
    solamente mostrando como los bulls pueden ganar y debilitarr la defensa de los heat
    y q pasa con miami? olvidaron q estan ya de 2do a pesar de no tener a Wade por 9 games?
    Heat by 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. You Wish says:

    Heat by 3? As in they’ll only play 3 quarters, then be caught crying in the locker room after a fantastic Bulls victory. The Heat don’t have near as strong of a bench, and the Big 3 is NOTHING BUT HYPE.

  18. MArlowe says:

    I like both teams weather its MIA or BULLS. I love to see them in the finals.

  19. Dani_2614 says:

    No one can stop LBJ he is a scoring machine GOD luck bulls!!! just MJ can save you…

    • kyle says:

      LBJ = MJ incarnate ( exclude postseason).Actually, I’ll push it, Lebron is the greatest physical specimen the NBA, and Basketball, has ever seen.

      Whadayathinkaboutdat?

  20. jsumma says:

    bulls win by 5

  21. ruther says:

    don’t only focus to.bosh.james and wade..create a good plays for other players.because you know what happen of win in atlanta..all bench players is boom….no james and wade..imagine.

  22. JZA says:

    I think this game is overblown, even if this is a compact season still the players will think is not. Which means that this game is just a nice game for the heat to jump to number 1. But it wont be definitive. They are already at no 2 and they seem to secure this position.

    Sure Wade has something to prove after his injury and most certainly LeBron is now the MVP contender. However I think that Heat weakness radicate on Spolstra poor selection of bench players. The Heat bench has talent but sometimes for unknown reasons Eric, descide to not use their most promiment players like last game when the Knicks was shooting everything from downtown and James Jones was nowhere to be seen.

    JJ is the 3pt champ and he was sit the whole game, whats up with that? I hope to see more power on the backboards with Noah and Boozer pounding Bosh and Haslem, and I hope Eddie Curry can hold his own. However the best help on finghting loose balls is actually Mike Miller who seems to have no regard for HIS own human life.

  23. Tim@Miami says:

    As a long time Miami Heat fan, I believe Spo is the key person in this game. If he does not screw up, we will beat Bulls. His rotations always works for opponents. He does not able to come up with any B plan during the games.. Lets GO Heat!

  24. NoLove says:

    Last year the Bulls won the regular seasons meetings, but that doesnt mean anything. The Heat won in the playoffs & thats what matters.

  25. ko0kiE says:

    btw. alonzo mourning looks like KG in that snapshot of the video above :D

  26. Byrdymann says:

    If the Heatles continue to distribute the ball as a team and the supporting cast knock down half of their attempts, this game won’t be close. Bosh is the key to every game the Heat plays. If he is on, its an easy game for the Heat. The Heat simply has too much fire power this year. Even if they aren’t shooting well, they can still pull it out this year, unlike last year.

  27. John says:

    Bulls beat Miami

  28. Anton says:

    As seen last season, these regular season games don’t mean that much, the Heat couldn’t beat the Bulls until the second game of the playoffs last year.

    Both of these teams will be in the playoffs again and the real story will unfold then.

  29. oldiegoldie38 says:

    D-rose is nowhere near better than Lebron. Lebron is MVP all year,every year.

  30. Ruben V says:

    “As extraordinary a player as LBJ is, he tends to force his dribble into rush-hour traffic” So last season he was just too much of a jump shooter, now this season he attacks the basket (with great results) and now he is forcing it! any way, the bulls won all the season games against MIA last season…..that’s all I have to say about that!

    • LOL says:

      LOL right right, and looked what that regular season meant when the Heat won the playoffs 4-1. LOL Thats all I have to say about that!!

  31. Jeff Chicago says:

    It’s a shame Bulls aren’t 100%, though I presume that won’t stop Heat fans from crowning themselves champion if they win.

    • LOL says:

      No actually Jeff, the Heat aren’t 100% either, and no the good fans don’t do that. We realize that we arent like most ALL of you Bulls fans last year who crowned yourselves champs after winning the regular season battle. Because look what that got y’all? A 1-4 LOSS in the Eastern Conference Finals. Thats what.

  32. Parth Patel says:

    Now that da bulls have rip as their starting 2 guard they are unstopable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Ruben V says:

    I think somebody didn’t watch the MIA/NY game on friday. Wade didn’t seem rusty at all + in the “how miami can win” there is no mention of Wade. This might have been posted january 29th but was definitely not written today! I hope!

    • ko0kiE says:

      WORD! I want to see the bulls exploit that “rustiness” lol.. he had 5 steals, 2 blocks and just 1 turnover while shooting 11-19.. he looked pretty fresh to me.
      nevertheless wade has struggled in eastern conference finals (except maybe game 5)… but he is certainly looking for some personal rehabilitation.

      If luol deng doesn’t play he bulls will have a real problem because brewer cannot defend both wade and james ;)

  34. Padre Damaso says:

    it’s show time….

  35. prix says:

    This is where AMAZING happens…Heat by 3…Heat always find how to break the Bulls hard court defense and it is the best offense!

    • JAKE says:

      lol the bulls are a way better team than last year..They have a complete starting lineup and everyone is averaging 10 or more points a game and noah is a rebounding machine (hell shut down bosh OVERRATED!!!) and booz double double machine this year too. with Rip scoring 16 points a game and hell shut down wade.. This will be a good game and because deng prolly wont play lebron will prolly get his 35 points…….Who cares about last year playoffs. Ull see today the bulls are a team that can throw 5 offensive weapons at you and have the best D in the league…MIAMI and CHICAGO will meet in the conference finals..by far the best two teams in the league..CANT WAIT..this will be an back and forth game..both teams match up wel…

      • ShakenBake says:

        what was that again? bulls are a way better team? lol they just lost :D

      • killin it says:

        Yeah the bulls just lost, but they also only lost by 4 without deng.. When I last checked Deng is still good for at least 10 against the heat on a average night….

      • kyle says:

        Sorry bro, CB1 is better than Boozer. Bosh can score circles around Booz, and in case u havent noticed, Bosh is a double double machine himself.

  36. Egert says:

    Why Wade shouldn’t play? He’s healthy.

  37. ziad says:

    If Wade and/or Deng play, will their rustiness be exploited? Wade already played last game, and showed you what he can do !!!
    what a bad article. not objective.

  38. Miko Uy says:

    Heat will demolish Bulls

    • kyle says:

      Bosh is better than boozer probably ever could have been.
      BUT, I will give Boozer rebounding props, as well as for his services to the Jazz.