Bulls three keys to beating Heat in the NBA playoffs
Chicago is the No. 1 seed; but Miami, with three star free-agents, is favored. Here’s three ways the Bulls can beat the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals:
Derrick Rose needs to start out playing like a point guard, not a one-man team. Rose is one of the game’s best finishers, so let him take over in the fourth quarter. But he needs to start out passing to get his teammates involved, as he did when he scored only two of Chicago’s first 22 points in Thursday’s series-clinching blowout of Atlanta.
Stay close, and make the Heat make a shot in the final minute. The Heat players put pressure on themselves with a championship-like celebration of their free-agent signings. And they’ve melted under that heat, shooting an NBA-worst 1 for 14 on game-tying or game-winning shots in the last 10 seconds.
Make sure Chris Bosh remains the odd man out. Bosh was supposed to be Miami’s third superstar, but he has been overshadowed by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade so much that he’s dropped off in scoring (by almost six points), rebounding, assists, blocks and shooting percentage from last year and has openly pouted about it.
If the Bulls can do even two of these three things, they should win.
Golf stuck with a Tiger dilemma
Tiger Woods’ only notable drive in the past 18 months was running into a fire hydrant, yet he still remains golf’s top story. When Tiger dropped out of the Players Championship this week, he bumped Carlos Beltran’s three-homer baseball game to the back page of the New York Post. The front page was all Tiger. For quitting. How much longer can golf thrive when its only news is Tiger news, and its only Tiger news is bad news?
Fewer runs good for baseball
I like the Year of the Pitcher. Friday night, none of the 14 American League teams scored more than five runs, but all seven of those games were decided by three runs or fewer. There has been so much parity that Cleveland, expected to be the worst team in the AL, is the best so far, and Tampa Bay, 29th in the majors in payroll, could start 0-6 and lead the American League East.
And it’s not like offense has disappeared. Thirteen teams have ERAs over 4.00. The only thing wrong with the Year of the Pitcher is someone forgot to tell the Cubs (28th in ERA at 4.66) and White Sox (20th at 4.10).
American Leaguepitchers gain more thanNational League
Here’s what I don’t understand about the improved pitching trend in baseball: Whatever happened to the offensive boost from the DH? The American League ERA is 3.88. The National League’s is 3.84. I used to consider it a rule of thumb that an AL pitcher’s ERA would drop by close to half a run if he switched leagues to the NL. But in six of the past seven years, the ERA difference between the two leagues has been 0.14 runs or less. The closest gap was 0.06 (4.35 to 4.29 in 2008).
Assistant sports editor Matt Trowbridge’s Quick Shots on Sports appear Sundays in Rockford Register Star in Illinois. He can be reached at 815-987-1383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.