The BK Playoff Game: Miami, Golden State, LeBron James

Each day that there’s a playoff game, we’ll have three things to watch in the NBA playoffs. Each note will be accompanied by a contest. We’ll announce winners after each round. Here’s today’s three things to watch:

1. Miami, keeping pace. In Game 1, the Bulls asserted their physical presence on Miami and they won by 7. In Game 2, well, Miami happened. Miami won by 37. A game marred by technical fouls and referee-directed profanity, the Heat literally ran the Bulls out of the building. Officials called a much tighter game, one far more suited for the defending champions. But, tonight, the series shifts back to Chicago– to the same building that the Bulls ended Miami’s historic win streak earlier this year. Rose, Hinrich and Deng have all been ruled out officially for Game 3, but those pesky Bulls seem to hang around no matter what.

Unfortunately, it would seem as if the refereeing crew will go a long way in dictating what type of series this becomes. If they allow the Bulls to be physical against Miami, Game 3 should be a much closer affair. But if Gibson, Boozer and Noah get in early foul trouble once again, this could certainly be another laugher. Another thing worth noting: Joey Crawford, the NBA’s most eccentric, theatrical referee, is on Game 3’s staff tonight. Get ready for a buzzer beater or another blowout!

2. Golden State, keeping a stronghold. For the number two seed, San Antonio sure is getting outplayed by Golden State thus far. If it wasn’t for Golden State’s meltdown in Game 1’s double overtime thriller, the sixth seed could (and should) be up 2-0 on the Spurs. Now back in the Bay Area, things don’t get any easier for San Antonio. Look for Golden State’s raucous fans to set the tone early and often. Playing against the frantic, rapid-fire offense lead by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson has had San Antonio on their heels and they’ve suffered offensively and defensively. The Spurs have struggled a little bit thus far, having hardly held a lead at all for longer than five minutes in Game 1, but counting out Popovich, Duncan and Parker would be a crucial misstep. San Antonio scored 129 in Game 1, but just 91 in Game 2. Game 3 in Golden State, can they break 95? 

3. LeBron James, doing it all. LeBron James has the potential to utterly dominate every facet of any particular basketball game– th. But will he tonight? Has Joakim Noah gotten in his head? Can Jimmy Butler do anything to neutralize the 4-time MVP? Neither are particularly likely and given that tonight’s game is Chicago, James will probably look to send a message to all the fans and players that still believe the Bulls have a pulse in this series. In Game 1’s loss, James tallied 8 rebounds (two more than Bosh’s six) and tied Chalmers with 7 assists. In Game 2’s blowout win, James notched just 5 boards, one less than Norris Cole; but handed out 9 assists, four more than fellow superstar Dwyane Wade.

News from Around NYC