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Posted By Sean Eckhardt On Apr 20 2012 @ 1:16 am In Miami Heat | 1 Comment

The Miami Heat took down the Chicago Bulls 83-72 on Thursday night, in a game that many consider an Eastern Conference Finals preview.  Before Heat fans get too excited, Derrick Rose didn’t play due to injury.  Again.  This should be a huge concern for Chicago, because while the Bulls have played very well without Rose, the team has zero chance of making it deep in the playoffs without him.  Rose is the reigning MVP for a reason.  His 27 missed games would certainly make me worry if I were a Bull’s fan, which I was until the Jerry+Jerry demolition of the team after the 1998 season.  If Rose continues to suffer from injuries, the Bulls won’t make it past the second round, where they will face either Indiana or Boston.

On the other side, Heat fan’s shouldn’t get too excited about this win.  Miami looked pretty good, especially on defense, and Bron put up his usual excellent stats(27 pts, 11 rebs).  What should be more exciting is the 16 minutes logged by (C)Dexter Pittman in his second straight start.  I’m sure Pat Riley liked it as the big guy was clogging up the paint.  Not since the second retirement of Alonzo Mourning and the trade of Shaq have the Heat had thickness with any promise down low.  Sorry, Eric Dampier doesn’t count.  Like I said, there has to be promise.  Pittman was fighting for rebounds too.  As much as a guy like Udonis Haslem means to this team(he had 10 rebs in the game), he’s never going to be the size of Pittman.

There was another young player stepping up as well.  Mario Chalmers played extremely well against Chicago.  While he was a little streaky, he was also aggressive throughout the game, constantly cutting and driving to the hole.  Rio only finished with 16 points on 7-16 shooting, but if you watched the game it is clear that he has become an actual offensive option for Miami.  DWade had better numbers overall, yet the two players both took 16 shots from the field.  When Chalmers was drafted in the same class with Michael Beasley, I don’t think anyone would have predicted that Rio would be the better player, but at this point he is.

So now the Heat have given themselves an actual shot at the #1 seed in the East.  They still trail the Bulls by 1 game in the loss column, but if Chicago were to lose next week in Indiana, a very real possibility, that would leave the door open for Miami to grab the top seed.  Even if the Heat are the #2 seed, fans shouldn’t be too concerned.  That’s where they were last year and they made it to the NBA Finals.  Plus, this year there is no perfect storm like the Dallas Mavericks to shipwreck Miami.

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