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Just The Sports: Eastern Conference Playoff Breakdown (Miami vs. Chicago)

Just The Sports

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Eastern Conference Playoff Breakdown (Miami vs. Chicago)

Miami (2) vs. Chicago (7)

The matchup between Miami and Chicago is another one which may seem lopsided if one were only to look at the overall records of the two teams. Miami won 63% of its 82 games. Chicago had to win its last 6 games just to make it back to .500, albeit while playing in a tougher division than Miami's. Miami won the season series between the two teams 2-1. Miami's lone loss to the Chicago Bulls came when Miami was resting its starters and Chicago was making a furious run to qualify for the playoffs. Thus, you have to take that win with a grain of salt.

Each team plays at a similar offensive tempo, with Chicago playing slightly faster than Miami. Although, Chicago averages two more possessions a game than Miami, it is not reflected in their offensive output in relation to Miami's.

Miami Offense: 100.0 ppg
Chicago Defense: 97.2 ppg

Chicago Offense: 97.8 ppg
Miami Defense: 96.1 ppg

Even though, Miami does have less possessions in a game than Chicago, Miami remains a more efficient offensive team. Further evidence of Miami's superior offensive efficiency is evident in how many points each team scores over 100 possessions.

Miami Offense: 109 points per 100 possessions
Chicago Defense: 104 points per 100 possessions

Chicago Defense: 104 points per 100 possessions
Miami Defense: 105 points per 100 possessions

The difference is not great, but over the course of a best-of-7 series, Miami's greater efficiency should prove to be a significant advantage.

And as one would expect from a .500 team, the Chicago Bulls score exactly as many points as they allow their opponents to score. Not a very good recipe to win four games out of seven to move on to the next round.

Now, we must look at the net production the two teams get at their five positions. As mentioned before, I will be using net PER, a rating developed by John Hollinger.

Unlike Detroit, who is the best team in the East, Miami with the second seed in the East does not get net positive production from its players. Actually, only two positions, shooting guard and center, give the Heat significantly more production than their opponents. This should be a cause of concern for them going into this playoff series.

Chicago, on the other hand, while not getting stellar production from any one position does get enough consistent production to make them a dangerous team for the Miami Heat.

Point Guard-Chicago gets better production from its point guard position than Miami does from its point guards (+0.4 to -2.4). Advantage: Chicago

Shooting Guard-When you have Dwyane Wade on your team, it is only to be expected that your team will have a net positive production over any shooting guard the team might face. The question is if this shooting guard advantage will prove strong enough to lead the Heat to victory. Miami gets a net production of +7.7 while Chicago gets a net production of +1.4. Advantage: Miami.

Small Forward-Although both teams get net negative overall production from this position, Chicago gets less net negative production from their small forwards (-1.0 to -5.0). If that makes any sense. Advantage: Chicago

Power Forward-The two teams are basically equal at this position. Equally below average. Chicago's net PER is -0.5 and Miami's net PER is -0.6. Advantage: Push

Center-At this position, mostly like because of one Shaquille O'Neal, Miami has a great advantage over Chicago's centers. Miami has a net positive production of +9.0 while Chicago gets below average effort from their centers at -1.4. Advantage: Miami

Each team holds the advantage over the other at two positions, splitting the fifth. Miami still has the overall advantage, though, because the combined advantages it has at shooting guard and center is greater than the combined advantages Chicago has at point guard and small forward.

Prediction: Miami will end up winning the series, but it will probably take six or seven games to do it.

Stats courtesy of


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