NBA Playoffs: Poor Rebounding Will Be the Bulls' Downfall
In the last two games, there has been something sticking out in the box score that is uncharacteristically hurting the Bulls.
The Heat outrebounded the Bulls by 41-28 in the Game 2 blowout and outrebounded them again in Game 3, 39-37.
It's starting to become apparent that rebounding is the deciding factor in every game and in the series. The team that grabs the most rebounds by the end of the game tends to win. It's as simple as that.
Must Match Regular-Season Intensity
Unfortunately, the Bulls, who have the ninth-best rebounding rate in the league (per Hollinger's Team Stats), have been clearly struggling with one of the few advantages that they have in this matchup against the Heat.
The Heat were just 21st in the league in rebounding rate during the regular season, but they've outworked the Bulls on the glass in the past two games.
The Bulls are obviously not rebounding as well as their regular-season production says they should. They are being outrebounded by one of the weaker rebounding teams in this league. They cannot allow their mishaps on the glass in the past two games affect them for the rest of the series, or else, they won't have a chance in the world of defeating the defending champions.
Battle Against the Heat Bigs
In Game 3, Chris Bosh grabbed nearly the same number of rebounds as the entire Bulls' starting frontcourt (19 vs. 20). The Bulls just cannot allow this to happen, especially against a team who could punish them on offense with second or third opportunities.
The Bulls didn't exactly do terribly on the glass in Game 3, but they didn't rebound enough to win the game.
Joakim Noah was the leading Bulls rebounder with 11, which included seven offensive rebounds. The player with the second-highest total rebounds was Nate Robinson with six, which is definitely surprising, considering that he's the smallest guy on the floor.
Carlos Boozer only recorded four rebounds and no other frontcourt player had more than five.
Bosh is a good rebounder, but his regular-season rebounding averages are nowhere near as high as Boozer's or Noah's. In fact, his 6.8 rebounds per game average is even lower than that of LeBron James.
Noah, Boozer and Taj Gibson will have to outwork Bosh on the glass. They cannot allow him to have a phenomenal rebounding performance like he did in Game 3.
Advantage Turned into a Disadvantage
The Heat have the upper hand in so many areas of the game, but rebounding isn't supposed to be one of them. The Bulls have a chance to win the series—even with their lackluster offense—if they play suffocating team defense and dominate the boards.
Rebounding was the key aspect of this Bulls team that gave them a chance of overthrowing the powerhouse that is the Heat.
Other than defense and rebounding, the Heat are miles better at every other aspect of the game. What else could the Bulls rely on if their rebounding is worse than the Heat? Nothing.
I guess they could still rely on their suffocating defense, but they won't get far if they're getting pounded on the glass.
The Heat are already the most offensively talented team in the league, so the Bulls cannot let them work harder on the glass.