NBA Playoffs 2011: Miami vs. Chicago, Unstoppable Force vs. Immovable Object

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NBA Playoffs 2011: Miami vs. Chicago, Unstoppable Force vs. Immovable Object
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Can Wade and Lebron do it one more time against the Bulls defense?

The eastern conference finals between the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat will be a test of wills and contrasting styles. In many ways, this will be the most intriguing match up of the playoffs.

Wade and LeBron are the unstoppable force.  They have reeked havoc on every team they have played against, and so far have proven that they cannot be effectively defended against for a whole game.

The Bulls are the immovable object.  Their team defense has suffocated all of their opponents by not letting them run their sets efficiently and taking away their number one option.

Something has to give.  I love the way Chicago doesn't let you run your pick and rolls by not letting the ball handler come over the top easily.

I like the way Chicago communicates on defense and gets to nearly every loose ball before their opponents do.  They are also a superior rebounding team on both ends of the court.

On defense they wear you down and are a well coached, disciplined team.  Miami counters with two of the top perimeter players in the league.  Even if you do play great defense, Wade and LeBron can still break you down and score.

They can make good defenses look ineffective.  Their bread and butter is transition.  When they are on the fast break their one on one skills are just too good to contend with. 

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Boozer has to provide much needed offense for the Bulls to prevail

If they get in the lane they will cause all types of problems, as they have willing and capable three-point shooters to pass to.  Bosh can't be completely overlooked, but if the Heat are going to prevail, it will be on the backs of Wade and LeBron.

The Miami defense is formidable as well.  They trap and recover very quickly.  They play the passing lanes as well as any team in the league.  DWade, LeBron and Mario Chalmers will try to keep Derick Rose out of the paint as a group.

The Bulls will count on their defensive pressure to wear down DWade and LeBron as the game goes on.  That's what they do.

It is no secret that these two teams were in the top ten in scoring defense this year.  The Bulls were second, and Miami was sixth.  Points will definitely be at a premium.  Who will win?  Let's see what the match ups say.

Mike Bibby/Mario Chalmers vs. Derrick Rose

There is no secret as to who has the edge here.  Rose will not be the sole responsibility of whoever the Miami point guard is at the time.  There will be a lot of help coming in the form of Wade, LeBron and others.

Rose will have to be an effective facilitator in this series because if he makes bad decisions with the ball, they will end up as fast breaks for the Heat, which is what they thrive on. 

Chalmers and Bibby will have to make most of their open shots to be effective, and they will get some.  Chalmers is a good defender so he is valuable in that regard.

Rose has to get his guys involved in the game on the offensive end for them to have a chance.  His supporting cast has to contribute in a big way.  How well he does this will be a big factor in this series.

Edge: Derrick Rose

Dwyane Wade vs. Keith Bogans

Bogans will not be able to defend Wade without help, and he will get a lot.  Chicago's defensive scheme is built around everyone helping so that no one player gets exposed.

Bogans has the size, but it doesn't matter against Wade.  When Wade goes to the basket or puts the ball on the floor, the defense will react.

Wade won't be completely stopped, but they can't let him—and LeBron for that matter—control the game.  They will have to play him physically and hope he wears down. 

Bogans has to contribute by knocking down his trademark threes from the corner and be a factor offensively so Wade can't roam.

Edge: Dwyane Wade

LeBron James vs. Luol Deng

Critical match up here.  James is not the point guard in name, but he is on the court.  He controls the offense most of the time and makes the defense react to what he does.

His jump shot is better this year so he is a threat from down town.  He has confidence in his teammates, so he has no problem dishing to them when they are open.

Make no mistake about it: If LeBron plays badly, they will lose.  That hasn't happened in this years playoffs.

Deng can't disappear offensively, or it will put too much pressure on Rose to score.  He must be aggressive and attack LeBron so he doesn't roam on defense.  

This will be the key and a recurring theme.

Edge: LeBron James 

Chris Bosh vs. Carlos Boozer

If I am Boozer, I am telling the coach that I am going to get into Bosh's head and take him out of this series mentally.

Bosh admitted to being scared in a tight situation, so I would use that to my advantage and be physical, as well as get in his face and do some serious—and I do mean serious—trash talking.

He showed weakness, and you have to exploit it.  The Bulls need to use Boozer more in isolation sets down low so he can assert himself.  They can't make him a jump shooter, or just let him get points on offensive rebounds.

He is better than that.  Bosh is not physical enough to assert himself down low, but he can do some damage if you don't pay attention to him.  He can still hit the mid range jumper, and he probably will have one break out game in this series.

Bosh's rebounding on the defensive end is key.  He can't let Noah and Boozer have a field day.

Edge: Carlos Boozer

Zydrunas Ilgauskas vs. Joakim Noah

Noah shouldn't have much of a problem keeping up with Illgaukas, but Joel Anthony will be another issue.  He will have to make sure Anthony is not his normal active self on the boards.

The best thing Ilgauskas can do in his limited playing time is pull Noah away from the hoop so he can't block shots.  Points from Ilgauskas will be a bonus for the Heat.

Noah's defense and rebounding will be a key factor in the series.  If he is matched up with Bosh, it will be interesting to see how he guards him.

If Noah is putting up double-doubles like fifteen and fifteen every game, the Heat are in trouble.  

Edge: Joakim Noah

Benches

Chicago's bench doesn't give you a break as they keep the defensive intensity up with Taj Gibson, Ronny Brewer and C.J. Watson.  Kyle Korver will try to do damage from three-point land.

James Jones has been clutch for Miami in the playoffs, hitting big shot after big shot.  Chalmers and Anthony provide good defense.  The benches are almost evenly matched, even though Chicago is a little deeper.

The Bulls' bench is better defensively as well.  

Edge: Chicago Bulls

The match ups say the Bulls should win, but when you have two of the best five perimeter players in the world on your team, and they are on the same page, that is special.

Miami is on a roll, and it seems like everything is set up for them.  This is the Bulls first deep run in the playoffs as a group, so who knows how they will react.

I will take Miami, even though a lot of the evidence says otherwise.  

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