Saturday, April 21, 2007

Bulls-Heat, First Quarter Report

I've got this baby on TiVo, so I'm a little behind the times. But I had to pause it and quickly post a few initial thoughts.

A) This thing is going 7. These teams don't like each other and they both look pretty fresh, so I expect it to go the distance.

B) The Hinrich-Wade matchup is the key to the series. We all know that Wade struggles against the Bulls, in part because he's never fared well in his hometown, but in larger part because of Hinrich's tough D. Captain Kirk is as close to a Wade Stopper as there is in the league. That said, all that gritty defense leads to inevitable fouls. Hinrich has already sat for most of the first quarter due to foul trouble, and if he's going to spend every game guarding Wade (not only one of the best players in the league, but also a guy with a track record for getting a lot of whistles), he might be spending a lot of time on the bench. This obviously hurts the Bulls on the offensive end of the court, as it is clear that Duhon is in way over his head.

C) Speaking of Duhon, I hope you all caught that four-possession stretch where he and Jason Kapono just kept fouling each other back and forth. Priceless.

D) There has been a ton of comedy in this game, from Jon Barry's unrestrained commentary ("What in the world ...") to a couple of crazy Ben Wallace moves on the offensive end. I really hope this keeps up.

E) No one on the Heat can guard Luol Deng. He backcut Wade into the post twice (good for Chicago's fifth and sixth lowpost baskets of the season) and just stepped out on Haslem and Walker for easy jumpers. I guess they can try Eddie Jones on him, but I doubt that would work either. Deng should be able to average 25+ in this series and take turns with Ben Gordon being "the guy" in late game situations.

F) I am dismayed to see Skiles slotting Ty Thomas so far down the rotation. When Brown got in foul trouble, Thomas should have been in there. Miami is so old and decrepit that Skiles has to exploit that with his human jumping jack. Thomas can block shots, run the court, and backcut for lobs, all of which will negate the Shaq problem as well as Chicago's lack of a lowpost scorer. He's a total X Factor in this series and with aplogies to Nocioni, #24 needs to play 25-30 minutes a game.

Okay, back to the action. I'll post final thoughts in the comments section of this post.

No comments: