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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Miami Vice: Chicago Takes a Commanding 3-0 Grip on the Series

Chicago outscored the Miami Heat 32-20 in the fourth quarter, winning game three 104-96 and putting the defending champions on the brink of first round elimination. No team has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit, the challenge that now faces Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade and company. Three Bulls scored at least 20 points: Ben Gordon (27), Luol Deng (24, plus 11 rebounds) and Kirk Hinrich (22). Wade led Miami with 28 points, adding nine rebounds and five assists, but he shot just 12-27 from the field and 4-10 from the free throw line. O'Neal had 23 points and 13 rebounds, shooting well from the field (10-17) but abysmally from the free throw line (3-12). The other three Heat starters--Udonis Haslem, Jason Kapono and Jason Williams--combined for 12 points and two rebounds on 3-14 shooting.

This is why Chicago broke the bank to acquire Ben Wallace, whose value is rarely completely tallied in the boxscore: he had 11 points, eight rebounds, two assists, three steals and one blocked shot, statistics that are seemingly dwarfed by O'Neal's, but one number hints at Wallace's true value--41, the number of minutes that he played, second on the Bulls behind Hinrich. Wallace provides energy and inside presence and is the final piece of the puzzle for the Bulls, who have developed a really nice corps of perimeter players led by Deng, Gordon and Hinrich.

The Bulls beat Miami 108-66 on opening night, took the season series 3-1 and are one win away from sweeping the Heat. The Pistons can say all they want about not missing Wallace but it is obvious that that he has provided a big boost to the Bulls. How much do you think he is looking forward to a possible second round matchup with his old team? Last year I asked Would you pay $20 million for an old Diesel? and concluded that O'Neal would only be worth his bloated salary if he led the Heat to a title--mission accomplished, so he was worth the big price tag, even if this season goes down in flames. Meanwhile, a similar standard should be applied to Wallace and his huge contract: it's not about statistics or regular season wins but rather what you do in the playoffs. The Bulls lost to the Heat in the first round last year, so if they make an extended playoff run (i.e., at least to the Conference Finals) then Wallace can fairly be said to have been worth the cost.

posted by David Friedman @ 5:50 AM

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At Saturday, April 28, 2007 12:55:00 PM, Blogger marcel said...

it's over for the miami heat there done chicago will sweep shaq era over dwade will now will have to show he could carry a team all season long those barkley commercials coverse gatorade and ford commericails dont mean as much if you dont play deep into the playoffs thats what made jordan the marketing guy he was he was wining the ring every year you knew he would play to june something thats what made kobe do alot of commericails early when he was playing with shaq and before colorado he would play deep into the playoff unlike now when he's not playing as deep everything goes away as far as next jordan hype and commercials and stuff also colorado played a factor im just saying without shaq he still maybe the best player in the league or one of them but will he still get the jordan hype because with kobe it went away after shaq left for him. thats why vince carter, tracy mcgrady, allen iverson, didnt get that type of hype because they never advanced in the playoffs let see what happend with wade

 
At Sunday, April 29, 2007 2:38:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

I'm not really that concerned about who gets to do NBA commercials but I've always thought that it would be interesting if they stopped showing a player's commercials after his team is eliminated from the playoffs and did not show them again until the next season started. I know that will never happen but sometimes it seems odd to see a player's commercials during the NBA Finals when he hasn't been on the court for a month or more.

 

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