Your Miami heat are on the road in the windy city tonight taking on the Chicago Bulls! Always a great matchup, the Heat and Bulls have provided some classic games for us in the past. The last meeting, however, was quite different. Both teams were on fire and went well over 100 points, which, if you’ve followed them both the past few years, is almost unthinkable considering the caliber of their defenses. I expect the same tonight.
The Heat come into this game as winner of five out of their last six games and 8-3 overall since the all-star break. Although they endured a tough loss to Milwaukee on Tuesday, the Heat look to continue their fine form and newly found uptempo style into the end of the season. With Dragic and Deng loving the faster pace, the Heat are boasting the 4th most points per game average over the last 10 games. The addition of Joe Johnson has been huge and given them a dangerous shooter, which they were severely lacking. Whiteside is putting up monster numbers off the bench and, of course, D-Wade is slowly becoming the league’s new version of the Black Mamba (Kobe would have no one else taking over that mantle). Now with the news of Chris Bosh working out again, things are really looking up for the Heat.
On the Chicago side, they remind me a lot of the Heat from last year, and that is being ravaged by injuries and inconsistent defensive play. Coach Hoiberg has had some issues with getting his guys motivated, and it showed last outing against Miami in which the Heat shot 67%. The Bulls also shot very well in that game, and even cut an 18-point deficit down to 6 late in the game, but a lack of late stops allowed the Heat to hang on for the victory. Expect guys like Gasol and Rose to be in attack mode tonight.
So what do your Heat need to do in order to win this game?
- Control the paint: Miami has become a very good rebounding team, and they have done it as a unit. Chicago is no longer the physically superior team they used to be, so Miami needs to take advantage of that with guys like Amar’e and Whiteside. This is a game where the opponent is smaller, so offensively, the Heat need to be assaulting the rim every time down the floor. Johnson’s threat from outside will open up driving lanes for others.
- Defend the 3-point line: Chicago loves to jack up 3’s now, which has helped them put up so many points lately. They killed Miami last time out with guys like Bobby Portis, Mike Dunleavy, and E’twaun Moore pouring in jumpers. If the perimeter guys can play up and force defenders to go to the basket, that will lead them straight to Whiteside, who I heard is okay at blocking shots.
- Squeeze the orange: If the Heat take care of the ball, they can run all over this Bulls team. Guys like Wade and Dragic need to be attacking and creating, but need to do it in a smart way. The only reason Chicago came back in their last meeting was because of too many turnovers in the 4th quarter.
We hope you have enjoyed your flight with the High Flyers! GO HEAT!