NBA Playoffs Preview: Heat and Spurs should move on to conference finals

After handling the Milwaukee Bucks, the Miami Heat will take on a much more aggressive Chicago Bulls team.  Chicago surprisingly defeated the Nets in seven games while missing Luol Deng in the last two games.  Deng has arguably been Chicago’s most productive offensive player this season.  Chicago hopes for him to return for game 1 against Miami.

Chicago has the heart and competitive nature to stick with the Miami Heat.  Miami’s talent will just be overpowering.  Jimmy Butler has played excellent defense so far but Wade and James’ skill and experience will give him issues.

Luol Deng is a very good offensive talent but he shouldn’t make LeBron work too much at the defensive end.  Deng’s game is catching and shooting so LeBron will just have to focus on keeping a hand in Deng’s face.

Joakim Noah is a player than can give the Heat some trouble.  Chris Andersen is Miami’s only big guy that brings as much energy as Noah.  But Noah is just a lot better.  Look for Noah to affect LeBron’s inside game and force LeBron to kick the ball outside.

Chris Bosh against Carlos Boozer is going to be a key matchup.  Boozer will have to win this if Chicago has the slightest chance to pull off an upset.  Boozer has been playing excellent basketball but he has no room to shy away from Bosh in this series.

I doubt the Bulls take more than two games in this series.  The most likely outcome would be the Heat in five games.

The Spurs are set to take on a Warriors team with a lot of momentum.  The Warriors upset the third-seeded Nuggets in six games.  Denver just could not stop Golden State’s scorching outside shooting.

This should not be the case against the San Antonio Spurs.  I’m sure the Warriors will have a game or two where they shoot very well.  Even a team as great as the Spurs could have trouble winning at Oracle Arena.  But the Spurs will most definitely do a much better job than the Nuggets did of closing out on the three-point shooters.

We could see a few different players defend Stephen Curry.  We could see a lot of Manu Ginobili on him.  But Tony Parker will make Curry work on defense and that will take away a lot of his energy on offense.  Tony Parker won’t be an easy task for Stephen Curry.  Although Curry is the much better shooter, Parker has an unbelievable offensive skill-set and could really quiet down Curry in this series.

Tim Duncan against David Lee is going to be a really entertaining matchup.  David Lee is a workhorse that will not be the least bit intimidated by Duncan.  But Timmy D. will challenge whoever is guarding him in the post.  As the greatest big man of this generation, Duncan will have his handprints all over this series.

Golden State must continue it’s outstanding play at home if they have a chance in this series.  They will likely have to steal one of the first two games in San Antonio as well.  Golden State will try to bring a lot of energy and wear down the Spurs’ older players.  I like the Spurs to win in six games.

 

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