The Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat series will be determined on the play of the Chicago "bigs." Figuring that the likes of Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade and Lebron James will perform at their usual amazing levels, I am looking at Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer as the difference makers, along with the unsung defensive game of Luol Deng (on James).
The Chicago frontline can control the boards and neutralize Miami forward Chris Bosh's offensive skills, while clogging the middle and forcing Miami to its perimeter game. Miami's Joel Anthony will have his hands filled. If James hits long jumpers and three pointers, like he did so well vs. Boston, so be it. If Miami has to live and die by the jumper, they will struggle. So, I like Chicago's chances, especially because of home court advantage and their stronger defense and rebounding.
In Game 7 between the OKC and Memphis Grizz, a series made for NBA TV if there ever was one, I like OKC to eek-out a victory and advance to play the Dallas Mavericks for the right to NBA runner-up for 2011. There is no truth to the rumor that the Western Conference finals will be switched to Tru TV!
On the NHL side, I think the hometown Boston Bruins can hit stride and advance to the Stanley Cup finals, riding the shoulders of goaltender Tim Thomas. Game 1, tonight, is a big one to set series momentum and hold home-ice advantage for the B's. I also like Vancouver over San Jose in a series made for the Versus network (yes, same joke works for the NHL).
In the PGA, the Players - aka the fifth major - look for Luke Donald to post a mid-60s score on moving day. Angel Cabrera has already posted a serious Saturday score.
As Charles Barkley says, "I may be wrong but I doubt it."