The blueprint for beating the Miami Heat has been clear since LeBron took his talents to South Beach: Shoot well (and a high volume) on three point shots. Also, make LeBron James and Dwyane Wade take the majority of their shots from the outside. By keeping those two from penetrating and collapsing your defense, their opponents would have a fighting chance. This year, with LeBron shooting out of his mind from three point range, that hasn’t always been a tried and true method.
Last night, the Bulls discovered a new way to dismantle the Heat in their own building: Offensive rebounding. By recording 22 points off of 19 rebounds, the Bulls out hustled and out muscled Miami – something the Heat is clearly not accustomed to.
More After The Breakdown
The Bulls have been keeping their season together as they wait for Derrick Rose to get back from his devastating knee injury. Marco Belinelli has been a nice surprise, coming off the bench and playing very efficiently. While he’s not shooting great on the season, he hasn’t been forcing shots and is in 3 of the top 4 five man lineups coach Tom Thibodeau has implemented this season.
Carlos Boozer’s defensive woes have been well documented here, and this season has been no exception. The only way he is valuable to the Bulls is if he balances out his bad defense with sublime offense – as in 20 points and 12 rebounds. Against the Heat, he had all his moves working, going 12 for 17 from the floor to finish with 27 and 12. He hasn’t been consistent enough to achieve this threshold often – only 15 times in 2 seasons, but the Bulls have won 11 of them.
All the effort the Bulls are putting in is just a prelude to the return of Derrick Rose. Whether his surgically repaired knee will maintain its explosive ability will be the main question, and can he elevate a 23rd ranked offense while maintaining their top 3 defense?