It was obvious talking to Ray Allen on Sunday that the Heat has spent plenty of time breaking down film on the Bulls over the past week. Two of the biggest strengths for Chicago are Joakim Noah's tenacity on defense and Nate Robinson ability to create havoc on offense. Allen addressed both...
Allen said ball movement will be the key to forcing the Bulls’ tough defense out of its comfort zone and getting Noah and Taj Gibson out of the paint. Chicago allowed 93.2 points per game during the regular season and held the Nets to an average of 97.4 points per game in the first round despite the Bulls’ 142-134 triple-overtime victory in Game 4. Noah had 14 rebounds and six blocks in Game 7.
“Watching film, there’s a lot of things…they play really strong-side defense, so in order for us to negate that, we need to make sure to put guys in positions and … penalize them by making sure that [James and Wade] get the ball quickly,” Allen said. “Don’t play against their pressure and just move the ball around and we’ll break them down.”
Chicago guard Nate Robinson delivered a breakout effort in the Bulls’ first round. He averaged 17.0 points per game, or nearly four more points per game than in the regular season. He had 34 points in the Game 4 epic, including 23 points in the fourth quarter. Corralling the speedy and compact guard will be a point of emphasis for Heat defenders.
“We just have to put more pressure on him,” Allen said. “Watching them play in the first series, it just looked like [Brooklyn] let him move all over the place and the pick and rolls he came off he was very free. He had shots, he had drives to the basket, he had carte blanche to whatever he wanted out there. For us, we just have to make sure we put a little more pressure on him.”
One bonus note on Noah and Udonis Haslem ...
Haslem and Noah share a strong friendship but that relationship is on ice for the time being. The two high-energy players from the University of Florida will go head-to-head in the series.
“When we see each other it’s always much love and much respect,” Haslem said. “It’s always going to be a special bond between us because we’re both Gators, but when the ball goes up, we both understand that we got a job to do and we’re going to repeat at a high level. And at that point we’re not Gators. I play for the Heat and he’s a Bull and that’s what it comes down to.”