Friday, April 20, 2007

Eastern Conference First Round Preview

#4 Miami Heat vs. #5 Chicago Bulls

In far and away the best Eastern Conference first round match-up, the Baby Bulls take on the broken down defending champion Heat.

The Heat are broken down. There is no getting around this. Shaq is Shaq, except hes a year older. Pat Riley had a hip replaced in the middle of the season. Dwayne Wayne has a stronger move to his left than Dwayne Wade right now. The rest of the team is compilation of spare parts. Do the Heat have all the experience in this series? Of course. Is experience another way for saying old age? Of course.

The Bulls however, have none of the experience, and all the athleticism. The Bulls have no superstars, save Ben Wallace, who is only a superstar because he was underrated for so long somehow that turned into him being overrated and getting 60 million to do the same thing as Tyson Chandler did last season. And while the Bulls don't have any superstars, here's what the do have; Kirk Hinrich (good), Ben Gordon(good), Luol Deng (good), Andre Nocioni (good), Chris Duhon (good), and Malik Allen (well not good but he went to Villanova, so he should get written about by someone). Plus 12 fouls to throw at Shaq in Ben Wallace and PJ Brown. The play of Luol Deng (18, 7.2, 2) will probably be the key to the series, as Miami has no one to match up with him. In fact '07 Playoffs may be the coming out party for Deng and will justify why the Bulls were unwilling to package him in any deal at the trade deadline.

The other key to the series, and maybe the Eastern Conference playoffs, will be the shoulder of Dwayne Wade. This series, however, is a bad match-up for that shoulder. The Bulls run more pick and rolls than any other team in the East. With Hinrich running the point and the bodies the Bulls have to throw at Wade, the Bulls have the ability to make Wade's shoulder a consistent aggravation at both ends of the floor.

Pick: If you have read this far and dont know the pick, well just keep reading, its the Bulls in 6. (One caveat with this pick, everyone is picking the Bulls, and usually when everyone is picking against the defending champions in the first round of the playoffs, everyone looks stupid a week later).

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