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Archives for : Joakim Noah

NBA Eastern Conference Finals Preview: Bulls vs Heat

Derrick Rose vs Lebron James

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose guards the Heat's Lebron James in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals!

If the 2011 NBA Playoffs haven’t already been exciting enough, the NBA Eastern Conference Finals will feature MVP Derrick Rose and his Chicago Bulls against public enemy #1 Lebron James and the Miami Heat.  This matchup has all the making of a classic playoff series with many drama filled story-lines dominating the headlines.  Chicago Bulls fans, as well as basketball fans in general, have reason to dislike the Miami Heat.  Not only did Lebron James, Dewayne Wade, and Chris Bosh all snub their noses at Chicago, Lebron James ego-maniacal choice to air his “decision” on live national television has made him the subject of much criticism.  The Miami Heat also drew scorn  for the way in which the celebrated their game 5 Eastern Conference semi-final victory over the Boston Celtics.  The Heat celebrated as if they had won the NBA championship already. Come on Lebron, act like you’ve been there before!  You actually have…

This was in stark contrast to the calm and respectful way in which the Bulls clinched a birth in the Eastern Conference Finals. This should come as no surprise to anyone who follows NBA basketball.    The Miami Heat have become synonymous with selfish, look-at-me basketball while the Bulls have done it all season with selfless, team oriented basketball.  The Bulls humble superstar Derrick Rose is the antithesis of James and Wade choosing to credit teamates rather than draw attention to himself.

This series will be a classic tale of talent (Miami) vs heart (Chicago).  There is no question the Miami have one of the most talented teams in NBA history with mega-stars in Lebron James and Dwayne Wade and their sidekick allstar Chris Bosh.  However, the Heat have struggled all season long to find an identity and to close out games.  James, as he has throughout his NBA career, has proven not to be much of a clutch performer and has had trouble differing the big shots to Dwayne Wade. The key for the Miami Heat will be how Chrissy Bosh end up playing.  Last time these 2 teams met, the Miami Heat were crying in the locker room after another loss.  Chris Bosh has been ineffective in the Heat’s 3 losses to the Bulls and James and Wade failed to perform in the clutch.  If the Heat are going to have a shot at going to the NBA finals, Bosh will have to play like an all-star.

The Bulls on the other-hand have a clear leader in Rose and a cast of legitimate sidekicks who share equally in the glory.  Center Joakim Noah and small forward Luol Deng are all key contributors on both the offensive and defensive ends.  Carlos Boozer, who despite his recent struggles is  key inside presence.  Keith Bogans is  a defensive specialist who will have the task of shutting down Wade as well as hitting an occasional 3-pointer.  For the Bulls the key to the series will be the play of Carlos Boozer.  If Boozer can play like he did in Game 6 against the Atlanta Hawks, the Heat will have their hands full.  If Boozer can’t get his act going, the Bulls know they have another solid option in Taj Gibson.  Gibson is an excellent defender and shows on occasion an offensive prowess.  As Derrick Rose said, “Taj doesn’t even know how good he is”.  Unlike the Heat, the Bulls have a cast of characters who could end up being difference makers- from Taj Gibson, Omir Asik, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer to Tim Thomas the Bulls have reserves that are more than capable of contributing solid mintues.  That is why each of the Heat’s big 3 must play well each and every game.

Game 1 of the Chicago Bulls vs Miami Heat will be on Sunday Night 5/15 at the United Center in Chicago.

NBA Eastern Conference Finals Schedule:

Game 1:  Miami @ Chicago 5/15/2011 8:00 PM (TNT)

Game 2:  Miami @ Chicago 5/18/2011 8:30 PM (TNT)

Game 3:  Chicago @ Miami 5/22/2011 8:30 PM (TNT)

Game 4:  Chicago @ Miami 5/24/2011 8:30 PM (TNT)

Game 5:  Miami @ Chicago 5/26/2011 8:30 PM (TNT)

Game 6:  Chicago @ Miami 5/28/2011 8:30 PM (TNT)

Game 7:  Miami @ Chicago 5/30/2011 8:30 PM (TNT)

MVP Derrick Rose Lifts Bulls over Hawks in Game 3

Derrick Rose

The Bulls Derrick Rose scores a career playoff high 44 points in the Bulls 99-82 victory in Game 3

Newly crowned NBA MVP Derrick Rose played inspired basketball on Friday night in a 99-82 Chicago Bulls victory.  Rose scored a career playoff high 44 points on 16-27 shooting including 4-7 from 3 point land and 8-9 from the line.  Rose also added 7 assists and 5 rebounds to go along with a blocked shot and a steal.  What is most impressive about this performance is the fact that Derrick appears to finally be healthy after spraining his ankle in the Pacers series and again in Game 1.  Since the injury Rose has appeared to be hesitant to drive into the lane and draw contract and get to the free throw line.  In game 3 we saw the Derrick Rose that is the best and most complete player in the NBA- one that hits his jump shots and creates in the lane.

The Bulls victory however was not all Derrick Rose.  The Bulls stifling defense and ability to rebound also deserves a lot of credit.   The defense held 5 time NBA Allstar Joe Johnson to just 10 points on 4-12 shooting.  The only bright spots for the Hawks were Josh Smith who contributed 17 points and 13 rounds and Jeff Teague who led the team with 21.  The Bulls out rebounded the Hawks 47-34 including 18 offensive rebounds compared to the 9 for the Hawks. Despite that fact that Joakim Noah scored only 2 points he played some impressive D, grabbed 15 boards (8 offensive), and tallied 5 block shots.

Another key contributor for the Bulls was Taj Gibson who filled in nicely for the struggling, injured, and foul plagued Carlos Boozer.  Taj added 13 points and 11 rebounds in just 265 minutes of action.

The win in game 3 gives the Bulls a 2-1 advantage over the Atlanta Hawks in the best of seven Eastern Conference Semifinals.  Game 4 will be held in Atlanta on Sunday 5/8/2011.  If the Bulls win game 4 they will have a chance to clinch the series in Game 5 in Chicago on 5/10/2010.

2010-11 NBA East Central Division Preview

Derek Rose and Joakim Noah

Derek Rose and Joakim Noah will look to led the Bulls to their first Central Division title since the Scottie Pippen era.

This time of year most sports fans and ticket brokers alike have their focus set on College and NFL football.  However, both the NBA and NHL are gearing up for the start of the 2010-11 seasons and now is when you should be paying attention to what is going on in these sports and getting ahead of the game.  In the next few days we will break down each division in both the NBA and NHL and not only rank the teams by expected finish but also in the level of ticket demand they generate.

In the first installment of our 6 part series, we will be breaking down the NBA Eastern Conference Central Division.  Perhaps no other Division in the NBA was as shaken up by Lebron-gate as the NBA Central.  With Lebron and the Cavs out of the way, Derek Rose and the Chicago Bulls are the heavy favorites.

#1.  Chicago Bulls

Additions:  Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer

Subtractions:  Brad Miller, Kirk Hinrich

Overview: The Chicago Bulls have been a young upcoming team for the past couple of years but have failed to go deep into the playoffs.  The addition of Carlos Boozer to a mix of young superstars like Derek Rose and Joakim Noah make the Bulls a legitimate contender to go to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.  New head coach and defensive guru Tom Thibodeau will be looking to a young Bulls team to take the next step forward.  While they may not have the talent to contend with Boston or Miami, without Lebron James and the Cavs in the way, the Bulls should coast to a Central Division title.

Ticket Demand:   A

The Chicago Bulls are in one of the largest markets, have a playoff caliber team, and have a young budding superstar in Derek Rose.  Chicago Bulls tickets should be in constant demand throughout the season.

#2.  Milwaukee Bucks

Additions:  Corey Maggette, Drew Gooden, Larry Sanders, Chris Douglas-Roberts

Subtractions:  Charlie Bell, Luke Ridnour, Dan Gadzuric

Overview: The Milwaukee Bucks are another young exciting team and the addition of solid veterans in Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden should only make them better.  If Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings can develop under Scott Skiles, the Bucks could end up surprising a lot of people.  Although they are unlikely to challenge the Bulls in the Central, expect the bucks to be a bubble playoff team.

Ticket Demand:   B-

The Milwaukee Bucks are in a smaller market but do have a playoff caliber team that should generate some interest.  Without a legit superstar,  solid ticket demand will only occur against premium teams like the Lakers, Heat, Celtics, and the rival Chicago Bulls.

#3.  Cleveland Cavaliers

Additions:  No one worth mentioning

Subtractions:  Lebron James, Delonte West, Zydrunas IIgauskas, Sebastian Telfair, Shaquille O’Neal.

Overview: Without Lebron James the Cleveland Cavs certainly take a major step backwards.  However, the Cavs still have a solid core that includes Anderson Varejao, Antawn Jamison, and Mo Williams.  It’s probably safe to say that the Cavs won’t be contending for any NBA titles soon but they still could be a bubble playoff team.

Ticket Demand:   C-

The Cleveland Cavaliers are in a small market, lack any marketable superstars.  However they could have a playoff caliber team and games against the Miami Heat will certainly draw HUGE crowds of angry fans.

#4.  Detroit Pistons

Additions:  Tracy McGrady

Subtractions:  No one worth mentioning

Overview: The Pistons certainly aren’t the team they once were just a few years ago but they do still have Ben Wallace, Tayshaun Prince, and Rip Hamilton  still in place.  If Tracy McGrady can find some gas left in the tank and Ben Gordon can turn things around they could be a surprisingly good team.

Ticket Demand:   D

Piston tickets will likely be hard to give away.  The Detroit Pistons are in a small market with a terrible economy, lack any marketable superstars, and are in a decline.  If the team is healthy and Tracy McGrady returns as a superstar, ticket interest may increase slightly.

#5  Indiana Pacers

Additions:  Darren Collison, Lance Stephenson, Paul George, James Posey

Subtractions:  Troy Murphy, Earl Watson

Overview: About the only thing the Pacers have going for them is Larry Bird and Tyler Hansbrough.  Unfortunately neither of them can do much to save the Pacers from the NBA cellar.  With a starting lineup that is likely to include Roy Hibbert, Josh McRoberts, Danny Granger, Mike Dunleavy, and Darren Collison it’s hard to find much room for optimism.

Ticket Demand:   D-

Another small market with a crappy team and no superstar attraction will provide very little fan interest.

To learn more about event ticket market analysis be sure to check out Ticket Trendz.  Ticket Trendz gauges interest of the event ticket market in a unique way to help both ticket buyers and maketers analyse the industry.