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Baseline to Baseline recaps: When you talk contenders, Chicago wants to be mentioned

Feb 25, 2011, 4:19 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Chicago Bulls Getty Images

What you missed while out doing some naked joyriding

Bulls 93, Heat 89: We won’t know until May, really, if the Chicago Bulls are contenders. If they can hang with Miami and Boston for seven games. The defense definitely can, but the ball sticks too much on offense, leaving Derrick Rose to create one-on-three (or that is how it seems). It leaves questions.

But one week ago they took down the Spurs, then Thursday night they beat the Heat. They have injected themselves into the conversation.

The Heat controlled the tempo in the first half and got out to a good lead by running. The Heat did to the Bulls what a lot of teams have done to the Spurs and Celtics — beat them in transition to get easy buckets, because when the defense gets set they are hard to score against. The Heat went on an early 14-2 run and controlled the lead throughout the first half.

But in the second half, the Bulls slowed it down. And Luol Deng woke up, scoring 18 in the half. In crunch time Rose may have drawn the defensive attention, but he did what he always does and got the buckets.

The other two keys in this one. First, the Bulls bench outscored the Heat 22-2. Secondly, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah dominated Chris Bosh and the Heat front line. Bosh shot 1-18 from the field, being harassed by Noah. Carlos Boozer abused him on offense. Bosh can do better, but teams will attack him come the playoffs.

Nuggets 89, Celtics 75: This is the second game without Carmelo Anthony and the second god defensive effort by Denver. Coincidence?

The Celtics were short handed because of all the trade deadline moves. But they still had their big four. Denver now is a deep team that works hard on defense and just keeps running a lot of energy at you. Boston could handle it but they shot only 39 percent. The game was close pretty much the entire way.

Well, the entire way until the end. Denver went on a 16-0 run to close out the game and win comfortably. That led to chants of “who needs Me-lo” ringing out through the Pepsi Center.

  1. hnirobert3 - Feb 25, 2011 at 7:32 AM

    Very frustrating game to watch. God forbid one of the big three has a bad game because they seriously have no depth whatsoever (Eddie House is up and down, as has been James Jones). Even when they have Mike Miller in there, while he’s been excellent with rebounding, the only other thing he’s been able to consistently do is get hurt, and Udonis Haslem will probably be a nonfactor for the first few weeks once he’s back.

    Chicago is serious, folks.

    • ibleedaquaorange - Feb 25, 2011 at 8:02 AM

      Eh… Heat can win even when 1 of the 3 has a “bad” game… thing is, that wasn’t a bad Bosh performance; that was an abysmal failure for the ages. Seemed worse than Paul Pierce’s game a couple weeks back. He had some wide-open shots late on critical possessions that he just couldn’t hit (even accidentally). But there’s no question the bench was garbage. It’s frustrating how we were without a key player both meetings (and are we ever going to play this team at home?).

      • nelson8403 - Feb 25, 2011 at 8:53 AM

        What key player did the heat not have? A player shooting poorly is all defense, Bosh had some open shots but they were all 18+ footers, he didn’t get into his comfort zone and he didn’t get into a rhythm, and that’s because of Noah and Boozer being in his face and great defense. Don’t try to make up excuses and what ifs saying the Heat should have won, when the scoreboard says otherwise. The heat are just proving that they’re way too thin, their bench was non-existent, half of the bench didn’t even play, how can you expect the heat to win a playoff series with their starters playing 43-45 minutes a game, by game 7 that would mean they’ve played almost a full game more than the other teams starters (rose played 37 minutes that game)

        Yes the bulls will play in miami next week.

  2. ljl2 - Feb 25, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    The Heat feed on bottom feeders. Quit making excuses. They don’t have the depth or anything at all in the post on either end. smells like another let down for a LeBron led team…

  3. ibleedaquaorange - Feb 25, 2011 at 9:21 AM

    “What key player did the heat not have?”

    Their 4th best player.

  4. ibleedaquaorange - Feb 25, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Oh and I’d just like to address this:

    “how can you expect the heat to win a playoff series with their starters playing 43-45 minutes a game, by game 7 that would mean they’ve played almost a full game more than the other teams starters (rose played 37 minutes that game) ”

    Wade, James, and Bosh are all averaging near-career lows in MPG. As for this game specifically, Wade was forced back in when Chalmers got in foul trouble (which should do wonders for Arroyo’s confidence), and LBJ was forced back in immediately after Chicago built their largest lead. Stars get minutes when playing catch-up, that’s just how it works.

  5. lebronsinsecurity - Feb 25, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    Not trying to take anything away from LBJ’s game, but D-Rose made the right call where LBJ made the wrong call.. I know one missed shot doesn’t decide the outcome of a game, but what was the point of forcing up a horrendous three with the game on the line.. D-Rose had a similar opportunity and he did the right thing by drawing defenders in the paint and kicking it out to Deng for a wide open shot. Lebron has the ability to do that all day long if he really wanted to.. Just seemed like a weird crunch time decision. Hindsights always 20-20 though..

  6. ljl2 - Feb 25, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Miami fans should get used to watching LeBron chuck ugly shots towards the end of games. As he has scored in the past and was statistically one of the best clutch shooter (according to 82games), he had some of the worst shot selections.

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