It has never happened. In the history of the NBA, a team that was swept in the regular season by an opponent has never gone on to win a seven game playoff series against that same team. The Miami Heat, swept by the Chicago Bulls 3-0 in the regular season, are in the windy city tonight holding a 3-1 lead and a chance to close out the Eastern Conference Finals. Fans in Chicago might be wondering what in the world has happened to their Bulls, the #1 defensive team in the NBA.
The Heat are a better team than the Bulls. Period. Miami certainly had problems with Chicago during the regular season and this series has been extremely competitive, but there are some big reasons why history is in the making. Usually when a team sweeps another team during the regular season it is due to one team being much better than the other. Then when they meet in the playoffs, it’s normally a matchup of a #1 seed vs. a #8 seed or maybe a 3 vs. a 6. These Conference Finals have the top two seeds battling it out. So the disparity between the regular season and this playoff series is a little bit of an anomaly. The other major factor in the Heat’s performance against the Bulls is the return of Udonis Haslem. He is the guy who is never afraid to bang inside and is great on defense in general. His presence opens up options for the Miami “Big 3″. Chris Bosh has had two games of at least 30 points in this series.
Defense. Chicago has been considered the premier defense in the NBA all season and deservedly so. Head Coach Tom Thibodeau has done a great job getting his team to focus on defense and Derrick Rose is the MVP. In this series, however, Miami has been the better team on the defensive side of the ball. Haslem gets some credit, as does Eric Spoelstra, but the majority of credit goes to LeBron and DWade. They are Jordan and Pippen reincarnated. Phil Jackson used to talk about “unleashing the dobermans” and now the dogs live on South Beach. The swarming attack on Rose has been unreal and he really hasn’t been able to find a viable option on offense to help him at the end of games.
So what happens tonight? My inclination is to say that Wade will have a big game. He has yet to have a great offensive game in this series, while Bosh and James both have. In a close-out game Wade is the best Miami has and unless Chicago can find some offense, I can’t see them winning. On the podium after Game 4, Rose looked like a defeated man with no answer for Bron’s defense against him. Sounds like this series might just be history.
About the Author
Written by Sean Eckhardt
Univ of Alabama alumni. Born and raised outside Chicago, IL. Currently live in Florida. Some of my favorite teams include the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Heat, and the Florida Panthers. My interests outside of sports include music, outdoor activities, and anything with a motor(cars, bikes, boats, etc...).