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)