Monday, April 30, 2007

Bulls 92, Heat 79 (Game 4)

- Was not expecting a sweep in this series. Probably should not have been because the Heat should've held on for at least a Game 3 win & had a chance before falling apart late vs. the Bulls. But it would not have mattered had the Heat won at home, they were not ultimately winning the series--the Bulls were clearly the better team on both ends of the floor. Wade was rather rusty which hurt his finishing ability and a non-factor at the defensive end. The Heat also needed their supporting cast to step up like last year, and the secondary crew was highly disappointing besides Posey & Walker.

- Bulls just collasped on Wade anytime he got below the foul line. Wade did a very good job creating opportunities for his teammates. Wade just did not have that extra gear this series to consistently finish off the shots he usually gets. He also hurt the Heat with some very untimely turnovers today, just like Game 3. Just some bad unforced errors all series.

- Deng was again an impossible guard for the Heat with 22 pts & 12 rebs. Gordon could not really find the range on his shot but he did get to the line 10 times for 24 pts. Big Ben was actually a nice offensive spark with a stunning 7/8 from the line & some putbacks for 11 pts.

- Hopefully now Skiles can get credit as one of the better coaches in the NBA. The Bulls have been one of the best defensive teams in the league for the last few years. Still think he was robbed of Coach-of-the-Year in '05; what he did in '05 was more impressive to me that what D'Antoni did.

- Heat actually won the rebound battle for the 1st time in the series & held the Bulls to 38% overall. But once again the Heat were severely hurt by their free throw shooting and turnovers. The Heat had 17 TOs to only 5 for the Bulls, and that extra 12 possessions was apparent in the 12 more shot attempts for the Bulls. This afforded the Bulls to shoot 38% to Miami's 43%, but still the Bulls made one more shot than the Heat (32 to 31).

-The free throw line played a decisive role again--the Heat were 13/27, while the Bulls were 19/24. We know we can't expect too much from Shaq, but he was awful all series (9/27) & 0/7 today. While Ben Wallace stepped up suprisingly well the last 2 games--10/14, 7/8 today. Miami only shot 61.5 % from the FT line for the series.

- The Heat just never got enough consistent input from their supporting cast that was so key last year. Jason Williams, Ed Jones, & Payton were total non-entities. Haslem was alright today, but overall had a subpar series--average 7.5 pts & 5.3 rbs , well below his season averages of 10 & 8. One guy who was a consistent contributor was James Posey. The Heat seemed to played much better when he was on the floor instead of Jones, and James averaged nearly 8 pts & 8 rbs per, not too mention 18 rebs on Sunday.

- No secret the Heat are at a crossroads. Zo, Payton, & Ed Jones might have all played their last NBA game. Miami needs to figure out what to do with their PG spot. JWilliams was nothing special this year, he's going into the last year of his deal, & he is going on 31/32. Even with JWill around, the Heat are going to need a back-up PG, preferably a young one to groom. The Heat could also use a back-up big in anticipation of Zo's retirement & that Shaq will probably miss 20-25 games next year from injury or self-imposed rest. Also the wing spot might need some depth since both Jones & Posey could be gone. So you can see the Heat have a lot of areas to address. But one major stumbling block is the Heat have most their money tied up in 2 players for the next few years, and have very little wiggle room to sign free agents (just the MLE this year to use).


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