While the Miami Heat usually struggle against usually struggle against the Chicago Bulls, home or away, the recent form of both teams suggests that it might not be that difficult this time.
The Bulls seemed to be high on the news of an improving Derrick Rose, but there’s only so much a team can do on defense and hustle alone, with their offense continuing to look like nothing organized, while injuries also took their toll on the team. The Bulls have lost four of their last six games, and haven’t scored 100 points in seven of their last eight games.
But the Bulls are confident that the All-Star break was all they needed to get back into shape. Carlos Boozer, who is no longer (for now) mentioned in triggering the amnesty clause, averaging 15.7 points and 9.3 rebounds this season. Boozer scored 27 points when the teams first met this season in Miami, a 96-89 win for the Bulls, one of only three Heat losses on their home court this season. The Bulls themselves have been better away from home in 2012-2013, going 15-12 at the United Center. They’ve also beaten Miami on the Heat’s last four visits to Chicago.
No team is as hot as the Heat are right now, picking up just where they left things before the All-Star break with a 103-90 win in Atlanta against the Hawks. James didn’t go for 30-something, but his 24 points and 11 assists were certainly big help, helping the Heat win their eight consecutive game, the longest winning streak in the NBA at the moment.
Still, the Bulls are usually a different story for Miami – they’re averaging only 91 points per game while dropping six of the last eight regular-season meetings. They’ve lost nine of their last 11 visits to the stadium, but have also those two wins in the Eastern Conference final to make them feel confident, not to mention James averaging 32.6 points over his last 17 games there, including the playoffs.
Prediction – It isn’t just about the Bulls putting on a defensive clinic, which is possible. It’s about finding the player to become their go-to-guy for the night, which doesn’t happen often. Still, the Heat tend to look bad on back to back road games, as all teams do, which might mean that we’re in for a slight upset.