Miami’s “Big 3” accounted for 83 points in its Game 4 win at Boston and when the Heat closed out the Celtics back in Miami in Game 5, the “Big 3” accounted for 81 points. Bosh, LBJ and Wade accounted for a total of just 63 points in Game 1 vs Chicago, as the Bulls routed the Heat 103-82. Miami's “Big 3” again scored 63 points in Game 2 last night but so many other things were different. First off, it was LBJ and Bosh leading the way, not Bosh. Bosh had 30 & 9 in Game 1 but just 10 & 8 last night. LBJ and Wade rebounded from shooting a combined 37.5 percent in Game 1 (while combining for just 33 points) by converting 20-of-37 FGs last night (54.1 percent) while scoring 53 points and adding 19 rebounds.
The Miami defense also rose to the challenge last night, holding the Bulls to just 75 points, after allowing 103 in Game 1. The Bulls converted 10-of-21 three-pointers in Game 1 but just 3-of-20 last night, while also ‘shooting themselves in the foot’ by missing 10 of 26 free throws. Rose scored 21 points but made just 7-of-23 FGs while both Deng (13 points on 5-of-15 shooting) and Boozer (seven points on 3-of-10 shooting) had “off nights.” The ‘hidden story’ may have ben the play of Udonis Haslem. He was injured back on November 20 and had played just three minutes in Game 4 of the Boston series and four minutes in Game 1 of this series (zero points) before last night. Haslem played 23 minutes in Game 2, making 5-of-10 FGs for 13 points while adding five rebounds. If he’s healthy and can contribute like last night, he could be the “X-factor” for Miami. We’ll see.
The 75 points was Chicago's lowest output of this postseason and the teams combined to score only 24 points in the fourth quarter (Miami, 14-10). The 24 points is tied for the third-fewest points in any fourth quarter in NBA history since the introduction of the shot-clock for the 1954-55 season. Miami’s win drops home teams to 2-1 SU and ATS in this round and to 48-20 (.706) this postseason (33-32-3 ATS). The 85-75 final easily stayed under, making it 33 overs and 35 unders through 68 postseason games in 2011. “Zig-Zaggers” won with the Heat (and will have the Thunder tonight) but remain a losing proposition this postseason, at 25-26-3 ATS (minus-3.6 net games).
Game 2 of the Western Conference finals is tonight at 9:00 ET on ESPN. The Mavs are favored by 5 1/2 points and the total is currently 200 1/2. Will we ever see a chink in the armor of the Mavs this postseason? The Mavs took care of Portland in six games (6-0 ATS), swept the Lakers (4-0 ATS) and then Dirk provided everyone with one of the NBA playoffs’ greatest-ever shooting performances (48 points on 12-of-15 FGs and 24-of-24 FTs), as the Mavs opened the Western Conference finals with a 121-112 Game 1 win on Tuesday. That’s SEVEN straight postseason wins for Dallas, which has gone 9-2 this postseason, including 11-0 ATS (Dallas have covered 15 straight going back to the last four games of the regular season). It’s almost impossible to believe. NBA postseason series are all about making adjustments and we saw that last night with the Heat, who after allowing the Bulls to score 103 points in Game 1, held Chicago to just 75 points in a 10-point win in Game 2. Can the Thunder do the same?