The Miami Heat travel to the United Center to play the Chicago Bulls in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Bulls are the number one seed, while the Heat were some experts' pick to come out of the East before the season started.
In some ways, this is a dream matchup. The Bulls are led by the MVP of the regular season, Derrick Rose. While the Heat are led by a trio of superstars: LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.
But the series might very well come down to neither of the four players.
Here's what to expect in Game One.
Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade will cancel each other out. Rose and Wade will probably be on the court at the same time, and both are their respected teams' most important perimeter players. Though Rose is the playmaker, while Wade is a more of a pure scorer, neither team has a lock down perimeter defender. Both players have put up excellent numbers in the three regular season games they played in.
LeBron James will get booed. Many in Chicago feel that James spurned them after Chicago made a real effort to sign him this past summer. Instead, James ended up in Miami, and the Bulls used their salary cap space to sign Carlos Boozer. Though it seemed to work out for Chicago, Bulls' fans will make sure to let James hear it. This might motivate James to have a big game, and that might be a very bad thing for the Bulls.
Chris Bosh will be the most important player on the court. Lost in all the discussion about the star power on the court is the importance of Chris Bosh for the Heat. Bosh has shown some signs of fatigue, and has been inconsistent throughout the regular season and playoffs. The Heat rely heavily on Bosh, as Miami lacks another productive big man. When he comes up big, the Heat look unstoppable. In three games against the Bulls, Bosh has shot just 34 percent from the field. If Bosh avoids foul trouble, and has a productive scoring game, the Heat should expect to win Game One.
Time for Joakim Noah to shine. Noah will not face a tough center assignment in the series, especially if Bosh pays more attention to Carlos Boozer. After three poor offensive showings in the Atlanta series, Noah should take advantage of a thin Heat bench. Joel Anthony will need to raise his defensive game to prevent Noah from having a double-double.
James Jones or Luol Deng? These two small forward have contrasting styles, but both play key roles for their team's success. Jones is a sharpshooter, who gives teams headaches with his three-point shooting, as defensive converge on James and Wade. Deng, on the other hand, is capable of scoring in multiple ways, and James will have a tough defensive assignment is trying to limit Deng from penetrating and shooting from inside 20 feet.
This will be an interesting series, and Game One will probably not be indicative of what will happen the rest of the series as head coaches Tom Thibodeau and Erik Spoelstra know they will need to make adjustments.