By John Schuhmann, NBA.com
Posted May 19 2011 12:29PM
The Chicago Bulls' defense has been given plenty of attention this season, and deservedly so. The Bulls had the No. 1 defense in the league, allowing just 97.4 points per 100 possessions in the regular season.
But lost in the Bulls' 103-82 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday -- because Chicago was abnormally efficient offensively -- was that the Miami Heat are an excellent defensive team as well. If the Heat didn't show it on Sunday, they certainly did on Wednesday, holding the Bulls to a season-low 75 points on 83 possessions (90 per 100) in Miami's 10-point Game 2 victory.
• StatsCube: Chicago vs. Miami totals in the playoffs
The Heat defense was particularly good in the second half, when they held the Bulls to a paltry 29 points on 39 possessions, including just two points in the final 7:16 of the game.
Once again, the Bulls gave the Heat trouble on the offensive glass, racking up 18 second-chance points. They also registered 13 fast-break points, capitalizing on some sloppy Miami turnovers. Subtract those two numbers from their total, and the Bulls scored just 44 points in standard half-court situations, which was also a season-low.
Slowing down the MVP
Derrick Rose said that, in shooting 7-for-23, he missed a lot of shots that he usually makes. There's some truth to that -- Rose was 2-for-9 from within five feet of the basket -- but there's no doubt that the Heat have defended Rose as well as you can in both Games 1 and 2.
For the most part, the Heat have blitzed Rose's pick-and-rolls (before the screen is even set sometimes) and tried to force him to give up the ball. They've also kept him out of the paint.
|%FGA = Percentage of total shots taken from within five feet|
Rose got to the basket more on Wednesday than he did in Game 1, when he attempted just two of his 22 shots from inside five feet. But the Heat were almost always there to contest his drives, and overall, they've done a terrific job of keeping him from getting to the rim the way he wants to.
• StatsCube: Derrick Rose's shooting vs. Miami in the playoffs
As the series moves to Miami, the Bulls will need somebody else to step up offensively or find a way for Rose to get cleaner looks at the rim, because he's probably not going to shoot better than he already is from five feet and beyond. He shot 38 percent from five feet and beyond in the regular season and just 34 percent in the first two rounds. But he's shooting 41 percent (14-for-34) from five feet and beyond in this series.
Udonis Haslem, Minus-11?
Sometimes, a player's single-game plus-minus doesn't make much sense. And that's clearly the case with Udonis Haslem's minus-11 in Game 2.
Haslem, who hadn't scored a point since Nov. 20, was a spark for the Heat, who were desperate for some productivity off the bench and some help on the glass. In Game 2, he outscored Chris Bosh, who was a plus-22. But in Haslem's 23 minutes, the Bulls outscored the Heat 49-38. And in his 25 minutes on the bench, the Heat outscored the Bulls 47-26.
|OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions|
Though Haslem helped secure the defensive glass in the first quarter, the Bulls outscored the Heat 15-5 after he replaced Jamal Magloire, handing him a minus-10 for the period. He was a plus-2 in the second quarter, but his impact was felt most in the third.
Haslem replaced Joel Anthony with the Heat up 57-54 and, after a pair of Rose free throws, his two ferocious dunks highlighted a 10-0 run. He scored another six points, but they were Miami's only six points over an 11-minute stretch spanning the third and fourth periods. And when he came out of the game midway through the fourth, the game was tied. So he was a minus-3 for his second half stint, and the Heat made their final run with him on the bench.
What we'll remember about Haslem's Game 2 was that third-quarter run.If it weren't for that, maybe the Heat are in an 0-2 hole right now. But the fact is that Haslem was on the floor for a couple of Chicago runs as well, and he wasn't on the floor when the game was decided down the stretch. There's your minus-11.
Initial D vs. rebounding
Haslem's biggest impact may have been on the defensive glass, which was problem No. 1 for the Heat in Game 1 and early in Game 2. After grabbing 19 offensive rebounds on Sunday, the Bulls grabbed seven more in the first six minutes on Wednesday. Then Haslem entered the game and the Bulls didn't grab another offensive board until after he checked out with 4:37 to go in the second quarter.
For the game, just two of the Bulls' 17 offensive rebounds came during Haslem's 23 minutes on the floor. He clearly made an impact on the boards, but from the table above, we see that the Bulls' were still much better offensively when he was out there.
That's because Chicago didn't miss nearly as many shots. They shot 18-for-32 (56 percent) from the field with Haslem on the court, as opposed to 10-for-50 with him on the bench.
For the most part, when Haslem was on the bench, Joel Anthony was on the floor. Anthony is a great defender, but not a great rebounder, and when he was on the floor, the Bulls shot just 9-for-46 (20 percent). Rose was 2-for-14, Carlos Boozer was 1-for-7, and Luol Deng was 1-for-8. But the Bulls rebounded 15 of those 37 misses.
The good news for the Heat was that the Bulls didn't convert their offensive boards nearly as well as they did in Game 1, when they scored 31 second-chance points on 19 offensive rebounds, a conversion rate of 1.63. In Game 2, they registered just 18 second-chance points on 17 offensive rebounds, a conversion rate of just 1.06.
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