The Heat received some surprise performances against the Bulls in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals in Miami.
The biggest surprise was Chris Bosh, who missed his first three shots, and then went on a tear, hitting 13 of his next 15 shots, and finishing with 34 points.
The other unexpected performance came from LeBron James. Instead of looking for his own shot, James was creating for teammates. He finished with 10 assists and no turnovers, and only took 13 shots.
It was the type of performance from Bosh and James that many were expecting for most of the season. Though Bosh relied on a lot of outside shots, the big man gave Chicago defenders fits.
Another surprise was three-point shooter James Jones, who didn't get off the bench in Game Three. Head coach Erik Spoelstra appeared to have made the right decision as the Heat shot nearly 51 percent from the field.
While the Bulls had their hands full with Bosh and James, the sleeping giant in the room is Dwyane Wade. It will be interesting to see if Chicago can continue to contain the Heat guard who is shooting well below his season average.
Tonight, the Bulls will try to contain the Heat's stars, while also trying to get more out of their bench.
In Game Three, the Bulls' bench only had one turnover, but Taj Gibson was the only solid contributor on offense. Kyle Korver continues to struggle shooting from beyond the arc, and Omer Asik has been able to provide the down low presence that Tom Thibodeau needs when Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah aren't on the court.
The Heat defense continues to give the Bulls problems. Chicago shot 43.7 percent in Game One, 34.1 percent in Game Two, and 41.6 percent in Game Three.
Though the Bulls' offense runs through regular-season most valuable player Derrick Rose, Chicago has great depth, and relies on their a starting front court to score points, and prevent opponents from scoring in the paint.
The Bulls need a bigger game from Noah. The 6'10 power forward is known for his tenacity, but wasn't able to finish in Game Three. Chicago can't afford to have Noah score only one point. Limited by foul trouble, Noah needs to stay on the floor, and prevent Udonis Haslem from running wild like he did in Game Two.
PREDICTION: Miami gets the big production they were looking for from Wade, while James and Bosh don't match their performances in Game Three, but still make solid contributions. Noah bounces back from his poor showing in Game Three with a big scoring night, and the Bulls get better efforts from their bench. But the Heat find a way to hold off the Bulls in crunch time thanks to tough defense.
SCORE PREDICTION: Miami 96, Chicago 88