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This post is meant to preview the entire series. It will be slightly different than the game preview threads that you see from me frequently on HTTH. You will see those threads for the postseason too, but this one is meant more to look at the entire series.

Regular Season Matchups

1/15/2011 – Heat 96 Bulls 99 (Rose CHI 34 pts, 8 ast)

2/24/2011- Heat 89 Bulls 93 (Deng CHI 20 pts, 10 reb, 5 ast)

3/6/2011 – Bulls 87 Heat 86 (Rose CHI 27 pts, 5 ast)

Chicago Regular Season Leaders:

Scoring: Derrick Rose (25.0 PPG, .445 FG%, 2026 PTS)

Assists: Derrick Rose (7.7 APG, 623 AST)

Rebounds: Joakim Noah (10.4 RPG, 498 REB)

Blocks: Joakim Noah (1.50 BLKPG, 72 BLK)

Steals: Ronnie Brewer (1.31 STLPG, 106 STL)

Miami Regular Season Leaders:

Scoring: Lebron James (26.7 PPG, .510 FG%, 2111 PTS)

Assists: Lebron James (7.0 APG, 554 AST)

Rebounds: Chris Bosh (8.3 RPG, 641 REB)

Blocks: Joel Anthony (1.24 BLKPG, 93 BLK)

Steals: Lebron James (1.57 STLPG, 124 STL)

2011 Team Stats

PPG: Bulls 98.6, Heat 102.1

RPG: Bulls 44.2, Heat 42.1

APG: Bulls 22.3, Heat 20.0

FG%: Bulls .462, Heat .481

FT%: Bulls .743, Heat .769

3PT%: Bulls .361, Heat .370

My Bulls Keys to the Series

  • Limit the Turnovers – If you let Miami run in transition, you’re going to get hurt. We need to be smart with the basketball and limit the turnovers. Also, we need to knock down our outside shots when we take them. Long rebounds can lead to fast breaks. Everybody needs to hustle back on defense following missed shots.
  • Rebound – This is an area where we should have an edge. Bosh is soft. Anthony only averaged 5.7 RPG. We need to try and keep Lebron off the glass too. But I think Joakim should get his hands on a lot of boards. We need the rest of our guys to really rebound the ball well. This is an area where we have to be successful to win the series.
  • Put the pressure on Miami – Nobody front runs like the Miami Heat. When things are going well, they’re head and shoulders above everyone else in the league. But in the past, when the going as gotten tough, they have struggled to respond. We’ve got the home court advantage, and that’s huge. We need to protect it. If you win Game 1, Miami gets a little nervous. If you win Game 2, Miami gets a lot nervous. Play them tough on the road. I still don’t think they’re great in close games. Keep the games close and maybe you can steal one late in Miami.
  • Role Players – They’re huge for the Bulls in this series. 1 through 3 Miami has a huge edge against us, but after that I think we have the huge edge. Our bench needs to be much better than their bench. I think this is a much better matchup for Korver than Atlanta was, and some other guys like Taj, Omer, and Bogans seemed to really come on at the end of that Atlanta series. They need to stay hot.

Prediction

Current Line (Series) – Miami -200, Chicago +170

Everybody and their mother on the National circuit are picking Miami. 12 of the 14 ESPN “experts” are picking Miami. I think it will be a very competitive series. There are so many variables in this series that are just so hard to call, but I think it will be a very entertaining series. There is value with the Bulls at +170, I’ll tell you that. In a close series like this Home Court Advantage is huge. The Bulls were 36-5 at home this season, don’t forget that. I’m picking with my heart in this one.

Chicago wins the series 4 games to 3.