With the big Eastern Conference showdown between the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls, a win for the Heat would help them get that much closer to catching the Bulls for the No. 1 spot in the East that Miami will need to ensure a lengthy playoff run.
Chicago currently sits three games ahead Miami, with eight games left for the Bulls and nine games left for the Heat.
A win would close the Heat to within two games of the Bulls headed down the final stretch, with the Heat playing five teams above .500 and the Bulls paying four.
If the playoff picture goes on to stay the same as today, the Heat would get an easy first-round matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers, a team that Miami has handled easily, winning all four of the regular-season matchups.
The second round is where things could get dicey for the reigning Eastern Conference champs, as they should meet the Boston Celtics in the second round.
Boston is 2-1 against the Heat this season and the losing record against the Celtics can be attributed to Boston playing a zone defense the majority of the time, something that has given Miami problems.
Zone defense seems to get the Heat out of their comfort zone, slowing down their offense, which does not bode well for a team with the likes of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, players who love to run and gun.
Miami will get one more crack at Boston this season at the TD Garden, in a game the Heat can use to implement different tactics against the zone, to figure out one that gives them the best shot at winning.
Look for the Heat’s run to the NBA title to be in jeopardy this season, as they may not even make it to the Eastern Conference finals if they can’t heat up against the zone D.
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