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Bulls, Heat hook up

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After Chicago/Miami and Golden State/San Antonio opened up on Monday we almost went to bed with both underdogs in those series up 1-0. Chicago and Golden State were getting 9+ points in those Game 1's and if it weren't for another Golden State collapse late in a game, I would be sitting here talking about what the favorites need to do to even up the series. Instead, San Antonio went on an 18-4 run to close the 4th quarter, get into OT and let their experience lead them to win. Now I'm only left with Miami.

Chicago (+12) vs. Miami (-12); Total set at 187

The line for Game 1 in this series opened at Miami -11.5 and eventually closed in the -12.5/13 range. You can argue until you are blue in the face if the rust factor was largely responsible for Miami dropping that game against an undermanned Bulls squad but it won't do you any good at this point. I do believe the extended rest did have a big part in Game 1 but at the same time if Miami does go deep in these playoffs that rest will pay dividends down the road.

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What was more of a concern was how Miami played in the 4th quarter and simply got run over by the Bulls. It looked as if Chicago was still in the heads of the Miami players after they ended Miami's 27-game win streak this year. The Bulls brought that bruising, intimidating style to Game 1 and it worked. LeBron James even came out and said it's not going to be about basketball adjustments or X's and O's in this series; it is about the will to win. So expect Miami to be much more aggressive tonight and aim to take it to the Bulls on both ends of the floor.

And that means the likes of James and Wade looking for, and taking their shot more early on. Miami shot 39% from the field for the game and only had 37 points at half. With the scoring talent they have on their roster that is simply unacceptable. Only Wade and James managed to score in double digits and the supporting cast clearly has to step up and shoot the ball much better tonight and I think they will.

But laying this kind of chalk proved hazardous on Monday and in Round 2 of the playoffs it is still tough to do. Fatigue from the seven-game series with Brooklyn has got to catch up with the Bulls at some point and after already earning a split and stealing home-court advantage; I think the Bulls relax with their bully-style of basketball tonight. They know they can score on this Miami team with 35 points in the 4th in Game 1 and I see them looking to get out and run more tonight. It may not be enough for the win or the cover, but this total should sail over the 187 number.

Take the over.

  
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