|I am Taj. Hear me roar.|
Well, Game 1 has already passed us by, and what a game it was. For Chicago fans, that is. Bulls come out like gang busters in the 2nd half and paved the way for the manhandling that went on from there. For Miami fans, they want to shake this one off as fast as they could until tip-off for Game 2 begins.
After the jump, here is the much belated preview of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.
Schedule of Games (times are in local time at Chicago):
at Bulls, 7 p.m., Sunday, TNT 103-82 win for Chicago
Game 2: at Bulls, 7:30 p.m., May 18
Game 3: at Miami, 7:30 p.m., May 22
Game 4: at Miami, 7:30 p.m., May 24
*Game 5: at Bulls, 7:30 p.m., May 26
*Game 6: at Miami, 7:30 p.m., May 28
*Game 7: at Bulls, 7:30 p.m., May 30
It's kind of odd seeing a huge time gap from Game 1 to 3, but then again, that Oprah has much pull.
Regular Season Matchup: Bulls won all three games by relatively small margins. It is important to note, though that Lebron James missed the first meeting. And the Chris Bosh 1/18 shooting game was their second meeting.
What should Miami do: Lebron and Dwyane have finally gotten over the Boston hump. Now they should assert themselves and go for the big kahuna. Ditto for Chris Bosh, who needs to keep the likes of Noah and Boozer off the boards. There is a need for the bit players to make more contributions, from James Jones making three's to effective quarterbacking from Mario Chalmers.
What should Chicago do: Play together and defend. Thibodeau was the man who devised the Boston defense that steered them to two Finals appearances and one NBA title. They have guys whom they can put on Lebron and Wade (Bogans, Deng, Brewer). The bigs controlled the boards 19-6 on the offensive end in Game 1. Derrick Rose should be able to control pace and knife his way through things.
X-Factor/s: For Chicago, it's Taj. You saw for yourselves what he did. Can he follow that up with more of it? As for the Heat, it's Bosh. Because the Heat cannot afford to have him being dominated on by Noah and / or Boozer.
The pick: Bulls in 6. 20 years after Michael Jordan makes his NBA Finals debut and staking his claim on behalf of his generation, Derrick Rose makes his debut to represent the 00s.