Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat Game 5 NBA Preview & Free Pick

Bulls vs Heat NBA Handicapping

Sacramento at Charlotte in early March. Any game involving the Clippers of the early-2000s. And now tonight’s Eastern Conference semifinal series Game 5 – Chicago at Miami.

Eastern Conference
Chicago Bulls (1-3) at Miami Heat (3-1)
Wednesday, May 15
American Airlines Arena, Miami
7 p.m. EST
Spread – Heat -14.5 at TOPBet
O/U – 182

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Some games are played for no other reason than to comply with NBA rules, and this one fits into that category. All teams need to win 4 games in a series to advance and the Heat are no exception, even if this one is as close to a formality as you can get.

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The Bulls are spent.

They are down 3 games to 1 to the best team in the league, they scored 9 points at home in the third period of Game 4, and the players who figure to be on the bench tonight (Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich) are better than the ones who will be playing.

Yes, the Bulls are cooked, even if Miami’s Erik Spoelstra felt the need to revert to ever-caution coach-speak yesterday:

“You don’t want to give this team second life,” Spoelstra said. “They’re far too dangerous for that type of mentality because they just continue to grind and they compete and we know that. We respect that.”

Fine, but everyone knows that the Bulls are out of bullets in this one and Miami can pretty much choose how it wants this series to end – with a burst in the first half or grinding the Bulls away for a while before putting down the hammer. [ad-6571516]

Chicago has just flat-out run out of gas. Injuries and illness have whittled away a rotation whose upside might have been taking the Heat to 6 games, but probably not 7, anyway. Perhaps sensing that Game 3 in Chicago represented the Bulls’ best shot at making real noise in the series, coach Tom Thibodeau basically kept his starters in for almost the entire game.

Marco Belinelli (43 minutes), Nate Robinson (42), Jimmy Butler (48) and Joakim Noah (42) all got only brief respites, and only Carlos Boozer (28) was limited, and that by foul trouble. The handwriting was clearly on the wall when Miami walked off the court with a 104-94 victory, making the Game 4 result (Heat, 88-65) pretty much inevitable.

Miami will close this one out sometime around 9:45 p.m., giving Dwyane Wade (ailing knee) as much time as possible to rest before the Heat continue their march toward what everyone believes will be their third straight berth in the NBA Finals.


The line is 14.5, with oddsmakers throwing in the extra half-point to try to coax some money out of what few Bulls backers there are remaining. We’d advise against it. The Bulls started the fourth period of Game 4 with only 42 points, and while that may not happen tonight, there are just too many offensive challenges.

An over play at 182 (down a full 3 points from Game 4) deserves a hard look.

In the last 8 series-clinching playoff wins, Miami games have gone over 7 times as Spoelstra has been reluctant to clear his bench until the very late going.

By Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!