NBA Eastern Conference Finals Preview
- Updated: May 13, 2011
The top two teams in the Eastern Conference have successfully navigated their way through the first two rounds of the postseason with relative ease, but will now butt heads in the conference finals. The much heralded Miami Heat will take on the upstart Chicago Bulls in this best-of-seven series starting on Sunday night at the United Center in Chicago.
Miami was heavily favored in it opening round series against Philadelphia and with the exception of a brief letdown in a Game 4 loss easily advanced in five games. The Big Three of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh really began to shine in the Heats five-game series win over Boston.
James and Wade are each averaging over 26 points a game and Bosh is adding 16.3 points and a team-high 9.6 rebounds a game. Miami is shooting 43.8 percent from the field and averaging 94.7 points a game. It is 6-4 against the spread in the playoffs with the total going ‘over’ in six of the 10 games.
Chicago knocked-off Indiana in five games in its opening round, but three of the four wins were by six points or less. It loss the first game of its semifinal matchup with Atlanta, but kicked things into gear with four double-digit victories in the next five games.
League MVP Derrick Rose continues to play lights-out in the playoffs with an average of 28.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 8.2 assists a game. Luol Deng is the team’s second leading scorer with 16.7 points and Joakim Noah leads in rebounds with 10.4. The key to this series could be the play of Carlos Boozer, who started to come on the last few games against the Hawks. Chicago is 6-5 ATS and the total has stayed ‘under’ in six of its 11 postseason games.
Head-to-head, the Bulls won all three regular season games straight-up and were 2-0-1 ATS. The total stayed ‘under’ in the last two games.
Bookmaker.com has the Heat as a -250 favorite to win the series with Chicago the underdog at +175. Miami proved it is a championship-caliber team with its impressive win over Boston, but the Bulls’ home court advantage proves to be the difference as they advance to the NBA Finals with a win in Game 7 at home.
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