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Danny

Miami HEAT at Chicago Bulls Official Game Thread and Preview

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(Photo Credit: Andrew Bernstein)

The Miami HEAT continue their road trip tonight as they take on the Chicago Bulls. The HEAT have won eight straight games and lead the Eastern Conference. The Bulls won the first matchup of the season. Tip off is set for 8 PM.

1: What is your take on the ‘when’ and the ‘if’ of Derrick Rose’s potential return to the court?

Couper Moorhead: Reports have been all over the place regarding whether or not Rose, who is participating in some 5-of-5 drills right now, will return this season – but that is really beside the point. What matters is how Rose feels, and the Bulls have done the right thing and left the ultimate say up to their best player while Rose is preaching patience and caution. If Rose is ready to return and there is no further risk of damaging his knee – beyond the usual risks of playing basketball – then he’ll come back. It doesn’t matter if he or the Bulls see the team as a true contender.

Danny Martinez: I trust that Rose and the Bulls are taking the long-term view here. Rose is such a dynamic player when healthy that there’s no reason to force an early return. If they determine that Rose should sit out the season, I’m in favor of that. If they determine that he makes a surprising return tonight, I’m in favor of that. “When” and “if” are getting thrown around concerning Rose’s return to action, but we’re not hearing much from those directly involved in the process. They know what’s best and we should all just wait until they tell us what to expect.

2: Is Joakim Noah the best defensive player in the league right now?

Couper: At the very least he was probably the frontrunner for the Defensive Player of the Year award until he started battling some plantar fasciitis in his foot. We’ll see how things turn out if he’s slowed the rest of the season, but few players have the talent and ability on the defensive end to earn the trust that Tom Thibodeau puts in Noah with Chicago’s defensive system. While we’re still a little behind on proper defensive measurements, that – and the team results in defensive efficiency – means quite a bit.

Danny: He’s certainly in the discussion. The Bulls are, and have been for years, one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. A lot of their system relies on versatile big men, and Noah fits like a glove. When he’s on the court, opponents only score 97.5 points per 100 possessions. That number jumps to 102.0 when he sits. He plays the second most minutes on the team and is their fulcrum. This season there are some other centers playing well defensively, namely Roy Hibbert and Marc Gasol. If Noah gets the award, you won’t hear an argument from me.

3: What needs to change for Miami to win this time?

Couper: Making a few more threes will help – they shot 5-of-20 from deep in early January – but that was a well-played game throughout and it came down to Miami simply missing a few beats in its late-game execution. More than anything, LeBron and Wade need to win the one-on-one matchups in the paint when they come off a screen, because those open passing lanes in the corners just won’t be open tonight.

Danny: Couper said it. Shooting needs to improve. The Bulls prevent opponents from getting shots at the rim and from the corners, the HEAT’s two favorite spots on the floor. This season, the HEAT average 25.5 shot attempts per game in the restricted area. In the first matchup the HEAT attempted only 13 shots in the restricted area. Also, the HEAT shot poorly from distance. Get those things balanced out and the HEAT should be fine on the offensive end. Defensively, the HEAT have to manage the interior passing of the Bulls bigs better than they did in the first matchup. Rotations were a touch slow and the Bulls got easy baskets because of it.

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First we need to force Turn Overs. That's key. And Joel is the boss!

Second Lebron gotta continue to wreck hovac in he paint.

In the end though, as long as JOEL our RMVP(Real mvp) plays, and Bosh actually decides to attack the paint and play with passion, Heat should win tonight in a low scoring affair.

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In order for MIAMI to win, they must hit their open 3s. The HEAT shot poorly in January, hopefully that is not the case tonight. Better interior defense will be key, as well as limiting the Bulls second chance points. MIAMI scores a 100 points, MIAMI wins...TEAM HEAT since '88!

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In order for MIAMI to win, they must hit their open 3s

I am sorry that is actually the wrong way for Heat to win. The way Heat win is by playing DEFENSE and forcing TOS. We gotta body up these physical teams such as the Pacers and Bulls, we gotta to bring the fight to them, and cause turn overs. That is the Heat's way to getting the chip. Just settling for 3s and bailing out teams is the wrong way to go. We cannot run away from it. Celtics bullied us until we psychologically got over the hump and matched their intensity. Same must happen with the Pacers and Bulls. These 2 teams are coming at us the way we went after the Celtics.

We have to respond in kind and pressure them too.

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The Heat should consider the real power of their Allstars and have James, Wade and even Bosh to go off. They're gonna score a lot in the paint from those 3 guys they pretty much don't need much help although I trust battier and Ray to hit their open 3's this time. They've been catching up from a bit of a slump. Heat wins.

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We need 4 strong quarters for this one but two key matchups I will be looking at is Bosh vs. Boozer and Cole vs. Nate. Boozer went off last game and completely destroyed us. Bosh needs to get the *** over the whole Lil Wayne incident and play Booze the way he did in the playoffs and thats bothering him with his length and and fighting him for every rebound. As far as Cole vs. Nate goes, I think it would a good idea if Cole got more minutes tonight to check or even shutdown that annoying little **** Nate Robinson. I'm not confident Rio can consistently stay in front a guard so small, quick and explosive like that.

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