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Who knows what would've happened if Chicago got a healthy chance at Miami in the past couple of playoffs? Hopefully this will finally occur come the spring of 2014.
If it does, the intensity of such a series will be through the roof. Joakim Noah might be screaming before the opening tip is even thrown.
Since the Big Three joined Miami in the summer of 2010, the Bulls have caused Miami troubles. In this span, the Bulls are 7-4 against the Heat during the regular season. Yes, it is just the regular season, but it is telling nonetheless. When the Bulls are healthy and clicking, they pose problems for the Heat's skilled core.
Without Rose in 2012-13, Chicago still split with Miami in the regular season, but they then were ousted by them in five games during the playoffs. During that series, the Bulls performed adequately from a defensive standpoint, but they lacked firepower offensively.
Rose cures this problem when he's active because his talents instigate a whole new feel in Chicago's offense. Precisely, his comeback gives the Bulls an advantage of being more well-rounded than the Heat.
James, Wade and Chris Bosh have two championships under their belt, but the one last June undeniably revealed their vulnerability. While James is still out-of-this-world good, Wade and Bosh are regressing, and the rest of Miami's team is suspect.
They have vivid holes in their frontcourt where Noah, Boozer and Taj Gibson have a definitive stronghold. Furthermore, Chicago's versatile perimeter defenders, Butler and Deng, are more than capable of at least containing James and Wade.
As a result, Miami should greatly fear Chicago, particularly because Rose's presence now provides them with the premier threat they need offensively. This solidifies Chicago's unit as more well-balanced.
For the Heat to three-peat, they'll need to jump on LeBron's shoulders. It's doubtful that even LeBron can carry such a weighty load. He'll need Wade to be his old self and will need more assertiveness from Bosh. Chicago will likely prevent these efforts from occurring, and their overall team-oriented approach could be just the recipe that eliminates Miami.
Indiana and San Antonio almost did this in the 2013 playoffs, and both of them are well-rounded ball clubs that are top-tier defensive forces. The Bulls are similar, except they now receive a major jolt of life with a 24-year-old, former MVP in their midst.
His addition to a blossoming supporting core should equal the all-around mix needed to dethrone the boys from South Beach.