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Can The Bulls Shrug Off A Game 2 Blowout Loss And Put The Heat On Miami Again?

Posted by Craig Parsons on 5/9/2013 7:39:48 PM

The NBA playoffs have a fascinating Friday night in store for hoops fans. The Miami Heat, favorites in the East, are in trouble. So, too, are the San Antonio Spurs in the West.

Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 3:
Miami Heat @ Chicago Bulls – Friday, May 10

Your next bet on sports can go in many different directions, but if you had to look at the full backdrop to Game 3 of this series on Friday night, you would probably want to lean to the top seed in the Eastern Conference, not because of what happened in Game 2, but because it will still be shorthanded.

Chicago has done so much better than it should in these playoffs, given the many injuries that have plagued coach Tom Thibodeau’s team over the season and in recent days. It seems that Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich will once again remain out of the Chicago lineup for Game 3, keeping the Bulls’ bench limited. Jimmy Butler and Nate Robinson have starred for the Bulls in the playoffs, but they are going to have to continue to play at their very best while shouldering extended minutes if the Bulls are going to win this contest.

Given that Miami shook off its Game 1 rust to flourish in Game 2 on Wednesday, it is more probable than not that the Heat’s role players – Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, and Ray Allen – will be able to find and make good shots. As long as this happens, Miami will have too much balance and depth for Chicago to deal with. Don’t expect a blowout, but do expect the Heat to find answers when they really need to produce on Friday night in the Windy City.

Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson are going to be on their games for Chicago, but the Bulls have to get a huge perimeter shooting performance from someone on their roster. Given the Heat’s ability to play strong perimeter defense, that’s probably not going to happen. The Heat will probably win by four to six points.

NBA Betting Pick: Miami

Western Conference Semifinals, Game 3:
San Antonio Spurs @ Golden State Warriors – Friday, May 10

When online sports betting legal considerations arise, you need to ask yourself if good teams will get outplayed in three straight games. For NFL betting practitioners who don’t keep close tabs on the NBA, it has to be pointed out that the Spurs have been outplayed twice, and are tied in the series only because they somehow managed to steal Game 1 after trailing by 16 points, 104-88, with just under four minutes left in regulation.

Golden State has shot the ball really well, with Stephen Curry dominating most of Game 1 and Klay Thompson taking over in Game 2. What’s important to note is that Golden State’s role players, Jarrett Jack and Harrison Barnes in particular, are making open shots when they get them. San Antonio is having a very hard time defending Golden State, and that’s a big reason why this series has been played on the Warriors’ terms.

However, the biggest reason San Antonio is struggling is that its own role players are not performing well. Kawhi Leonard is putting in a good effort on the boards, but he and teammates Danny Green and Matt Bonner are failing to knock down three-point shots. San Antonio needs its wing shooters to hit threes, because that’s how point guard Tony Parker can become that much more effective with dribble penetration.

Big man Tim Duncan can find more space on the low blocks for post-up opportunities. San Antonio’s defense has been less than ideal, but its offense is what has severely underperformed. Does this mean the Spurs are in trouble? Yes. Does this mean the Spurs will continue to struggle? Not necessarily. One would think that San Antonio can score 110 points against Golden State’s defense and change the trajectory of this series. The Spurs have not played one good game yet; they’re probably going to play well at some point.

NBA Betting Pick: San Antonio

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