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Ever since winning Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Chicago Bulls have basically been MIA in this series against the Miami Heat. Now, their season is on the line, and they have been forced into a do or die situation against the Heat on their home court. Check out our NBA picks for this clash!
NBA Playoffs Preview: Miami Heat @ Chicago Bulls Game 5
Date: Thursday, May 26th, 8:30 ET
Location: United Center, Chicago, IL
Game Line: Chicago -3
Heat Notes: We suppose that we have to give the Bulls some credit for at least hanging in there in spite of the fact that the Heat really did get a great game both out of their stars and out of their role players on Tuesday night. However, it’s becoming pretty clear that a dominating effort by Miami, regardless of what Chicago does, just isn’t going to be beaten. The Heat really didn’t have that great of a shooting game at 42.7 percent, especially knowing that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade only went a combined 16-of-42 from the floor. However, when you look at their final stat lines, you have to be impressed. Wade did a little bit of everything, coming up with 14 points, five rebounds, two steals, and four blocked shots. LeBron did as well, ending the night with 35 points, six rebounds, six boards, and a pair of blocks and steals. The unsung hero of these two games at home though, was Chris Bosh. Bosh has absolutely been amazing in this entire series, one in which many expected him to get his lunch eaten by all of the Chicago bigs. Instead, he followed up his 34 point performance with a 22 point showing on Tuesday. Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers came off of the bench to hit a pair of three point baskets apiece, and they shot a combined 8-of-11 from the floor for 21 points. Miller also had nine rebounds. The Heat only got outrebounded by one, an accomplishment against these Bulls, and though they turned the ball over 15 times, they forced 19 blunders. Miami also won the blocked shot battle 10-5, something that we never really saw happening in this series.
Bulls Notes: What we’re seeing out of the Baby Bulls is basically the same thing that we are seeing out of the Oklahoma City Thunder. These two teams are just too young to be playing at this level, and though they are gaining an abundance of experience that will be able to help them out on the road to glory in future seasons, they just don’t look like a side that is really ready to blossom into a champion quite yet. Joakim Noah has totally checked out of this series, and it is the Miami crowd that finally got him out of his element once and for all. Ever since that anti-gay slur, he has been terrible, and though he had some relatively gaudy stats in some departments in Game 4 (14 boards, 6 assists), he also had some awful stats (6 points on 3-of-10 shooting and six fouls). Kyle Korver and the rest of the bench, which was on fire early in these playoffs, have been nowhere to be found against Miami. The only good news is that Carlos Boozer has really come to shine in these last two games. He played well down in Miami in those two games, especially in Game 4 when he came up with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Luol Deng also had 20 points and eight boards. The man that is really struggling though, is the league’s MVP, Derrick Rose. At just 23 years old, we know that Rose has plenty left in the tank for the future, but this just doesn’t look to be his year. He had another dreadful shooting game on Tuesday night, coming up with just eight made baskets on 27 attempts, and though he scored his points, coming up with 23 overall, he also shot the ball terribly and ended the day with seven of the team’s 19 turnovers.
The Final Word: This just doesn’t look like the same Chicago team that absolutely dominated on its home court for the mass majority of this season. The Bulls just never really fully hit their stride at one time, and their season is going to end up coming down to a crashing halt at the United Center on Thursday night. Don’t be overly shocked if Dwyane and LeBron run Chicago off of the court in the final game of its season.
Free NBA Playoffs Picks: Miami Heat +3
Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat Prediction: Miami 96 – Chicago 81