I really thought that the Heat were going to prematurely celebrate another championship after their Game 3 win in the Eastern Conference Finals. In fact, I could have sworn that Lebron was going to get down on bended-knee and once again and emulate James Brown. It didn’t happen this time, but my money is on Game 4, win or lose, since the Heat are overdue to prematurely celebrate something… anything.
Ok, I admit it. I am somewhat bitter. Despite a new defensive scheme that initially caught the Miami Heat by surprise when Thibs chose to double team off Joel Anthony on nearly every possession, the Heat still adjusted and won ugly. Back to the drawing board.
Additional thoughts/notes after 3 Games of the 2011 NBA Eastern Conference Finals:
Blown Assignments on the Defensive End
The Bulls numerous blown defensive assignments and late weak-side rotations were their Achilles Heel during Game 3 in which they allowed 90 points or more for only the 4th time in 14 playoff games.
Of course, if we talk about failed defensive rotations, we have to mention Carlos Boozer, who despite contributing on offense, was as usual below average on the defensive end. However, this time, it was more than just Boozer who underperformed. Derrick Rose looked confused, and oftentimes failed to ‘show’ during screen/rolls, sending his assignment toward the weak side instead of the strong side, while Kyle Korver was well…. Kyle Korver.
Fortunately for the Bulls, these are things that they can still control. What they cannot control however, is……
Should the Heat advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, most of us will remember this series to be a redemption of sorts for LeBron James. Me? I will remember it as a series in which Chris Bosh, who successfully convinced NBA fans, teams, and specifically the Miami Heat this past summer that he was worth superstar money, for the first time actually played like it.
Bosh went for 34 points on 13/18 shooting, and in Game 3 and is averaging 25pts and 7 rebounds on 67% shooting for the series.
I know that Taj Gibson is making a name for himself on the defensive end and like Noah, as a unique ability to move his feet well and keep defenders in front of him. As such, I expect Gibson to become a strong candidate for 2nd Team All-Defense next year. However, the Bulls have been forced to make decisions off the Heat’s screen/rolls, and the biggest beneficiary has been Chris Bosh whom the Bulls are determined to let beat them instead of Dwyane Wade or LeBron James. So far, that is exactly what is happening.
Thibs has been outcoached…. so far.
Have you ever gotten that uneasy feeling in the pit of your their stomach because you know that something bad is going to happen? I get that every time that Thibs decides to play a defensively challenged lineup against the Heat that consists of both Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver. I know that the Bulls are desperate to find offense anywhere they can get it, but against Miami, the Bulls best lineup includes Ronnie Brewer, either guarding Wade or James. Watch Brewer work – he is one of most underrated defenders in the league.
An interesting debate on talent vs. resume/chemistry.
One of our readers on the Chasing 23 forum started a thread asking whether LeBron James and Dwyane Wade can become as great a dynamic wing duo as Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, should James/Wade win a ring.
I know that Eric Spoelstra is one of the youngest coaches in the NBA and arguably has his best years ahead of him, but his legacy will unfairly be impacted one way or another in that he is in a lose/lose situation.
Should the Heat win the NBA Championships, most will claim that Spoelstra has done what he was expected to do. Should the Heat lose, he will likely be fired and will be forever known as “the coach that lost with the Big 3” until either another coach loses with the same team, or Spoelstra redeems himself with a championship.
I know that it is not fair, but unfortunately a harsh reality in today’s Ring Counting era.