The Pick: Heat 104-89
The Heat are coming off of a loss and facing a lesser-talented team that they have had wars with in the past. Need I say more? There should be no concern about Miami “getting up” for this game, and without Derrick Rose or Jimmy Butler, this Bulls team simply isn’t nearly talented enough to hang with a motivated Heat team for much more than three quarters.
LeBron James is playing as efficient a level of basketball as this generation has ever seen, and it only gets better following a defeat. Following their three losses this season, The King is averaging 25.3 points on 61.1 percent shooting from the field and 57.1 percent from distance. Good luck with that, Chicago, and more specifically, Luol Deng. As if those numbers weren’t impressive enough, James has seen his production spike in a big way on the road this season (+9.2 percent in scoring, +10.9 percent in rebounds, +34.5 percent in assists, -26.8 percent in turnovers).
But this is not a one man team. Dwyane Wade (who was given Sunday and Tuesday night off) has been playing at a very high level as well (21.8 points on 62.3 percent shooting from the field over his last five games) and the “other players” have Miami’s offense as the second-most accurate from behind three-point line in the league.
While the Heat top the league in points per shot, the Bulls rank 25th, a hundredth of a point ahead of the Utah Jazz. Say what you will about the gritty nature of this Chicago team, but they have lost two-straight games to less than explosive offenses and have dropped four of five since losing Rose. The Heat are an extremely efficient offense, so the fact that the Bulls rank in the bottom 10 in terms of field goals attempted should raise some eyebrows.
The big loser in today’s action is TNT. Not exactly the double header they were expecting when the schedule came out, but that doesn’t mean you can’t financially gain.
Fun Fact: Thursday was LeBron’s highest assisting/rebounding/stealing and second highest scoring day of the week last year.