The Bulls, Too, Are Who We Thought They Were
Some of the other arguments have more of a ring of truth. Except they're wrong. The most common argument is that the Bulls are too perimeter oriented to remain consistent on offense. Over the course of the year, the Bulls took 68% of their attempts as jump shots. In comparison, their opponents took a minuscule 66% of their attempts as jump shots. Wait a second. That's almost exactly the same. Yeah, but the heat only took 63% of their attempts as jump shots. Oh, that's almost the same too. I hate when facts interfere with a perfectly good rationalization. Based on the rate the two teams play at, and their turnover percentages, we can expect each team to take about 77 shot attempts a game. For the Heat, 48 of those 77 can expected to be jump shots. For the Bulls, 52 of those 77 attempts can be expected to be jump shots. In other words, the perimeter oriented team takes on average one more jump shot per quarter than its opponent. The Bulls have been a little more perimeter oriented so far in this series, but don't let two games fool you Heat fans, they're taking jumpers because its working, not because they have to.
Well, say Heat apologists, perimeter oriented or not, there's no way the Bulls stay as hot as they have been. Well, this is interesting. The Bulls have been "hot" in the playoffs. In reality, the Bulls won one game in which they shot poorly, and torched Miami in one game when they got hot. But to give the argument the benefit of the doubt, we'll instead pretend that the Bulls have been consistently hot. So far in the playoffs, the Bulls have .531 effective field goal percentage (e%) from the floor, including .513 e% on jump shots. That is a step up from the team's .493 e% in the regular season (.462 e% on jumpers). But this is not blind luck. The Bulls have been getting more open shots in the postseason than they did in the regular season because their ball movement has improved. 60% of the team's regular season baskets were assisted, 65% of its made jumpers. In the postseason, a shocking 71% of its made baskets have been assisted, 74% of its outside jumpers. Yes, the Bulls are making a lot of baskets, but they're doing so because they're moving the ball around and getting wide open looks. If the Heat continue to look a step slow getting to jump shooters, and the Bulls continue getting the ball to guys when they're open, there's no reason the Bulls can't continue to light Miami up.
I'm not saying the Bulls will beat Miami in game three the way they did in game two. I wouldn't be surprised if Miami wins tonight. I wouldn't be surprised if the series comes back to Chicago. Given the chance involved in a short series, I wouldn't even be shocked if the Heat come all the way back to win it. But the Bulls aren't up 2-0 because they've been lucky. The Bulls have merely done what they've done all year: move the ball, get good looks, knock them down. They made a lot of jumpers all year, most of which were assisted. They're doing the same thing in the playoffs. The Bulls are who we thought they were, and that's a better team than this year's Miami Heat.