The Mission from God (My Eastern Finals conference pick)

Cook County Assessor’s Office Clerk: Can I help you?
[the brothers back him up and lift him onto the counter]
Jake: This is where they pay the taxes, right?
Cook County Assessor’s Office Clerk: Right.
Elwood: This money is for the year’s assessment of Saint Helen of the Blessed Shroud Orphanage in Calumet City, Illinois.
Jake: 5,000 bucks, it’s all there pal…

The Blues Brothers

Let’s get one thing perfectly clear, as a fan, there is not team in the eastern conference I hate more than the Chicago Bulls.

The Pistons had Rodman and I always liked Rodman.

Lebron’s 48 special spent a year on replay on my DVR.

Who can get mad at Atlanta?

But the Bulls the @#@$@$ Bulls inspired quite a bit of passion in me.  I never rooted against someone as vigurously as his Airness.

And he never seemed to miss.

You know what you did

So the fan in me was giddy with glee to pick and root against the Chicago Bulls. Because even though  I called the Bulls right at the beginning of the year (a young team that with some luck has a punchers chance to steal a title in the next five years) , I fully expected them to die at the shore and fail on their mission from God.

I was not unhappy about that

Then I ran the numbers.

And I ran them again. And again.

I ran the numbers every single possible way.

Twice. Here, have a look:

In ever possible iteration, the Bulls emerge as the superior team. It would be really easy for me to dismiss the results and claim some cockamamie reason like heart or experience. In fact, I have incentives to stay on this track (I actually lose points for switching my pick).

But I’m not about easy, I’m about right.

Damm it.

Damn ethics

Let’s pull this bandage off quickly then:


So the pick is

Chicago in 7 .

So, yeah…..

So it looks like Jake and Elwood get to save the orphanage after all.

Gah. I need to gargle.

P.S. My updated model for OKC-Memphis (which assumes Gasol is 100% legit) still says OKC in seven (but the difference is very slight about a point and a half).

Yes, Marc but there's a 55% chance it's the last one.


  1. EntityAbyss
    May 15

    Damn, idk how to take this. This is the worst news I’ve received all year. Damn. If only Haslem could’ve gotten healthy by now. Smh. Eric Spoelstra won’t play him and if he did, idk if Haslem could help. then you have Noah being a huge problem and Mike Miller still hasn’t shown up. Damnit injuries, why did you do this to the heat?

    Also, if your Mavs aren’t what you thought, the bulls will then win the championship. Arturo, please give me some hope. Give me something that says the heat have a chance. Maybe Rose chucks too much. Maybe Haslem plays more and is more productive. Maybe Lebron goes to Mega Lebron. Maybe Wade follows suit. Maybe Mike Miller becomes Mike Miller again. Maybe Eric Spoelstra decides to keep Lebron and Wade and Bosh in even more. Anything. Bibby shows up? Something please.

    • EA,
      I spent a week actively looking for ways to spin the numbers to give it to Miami. Wasn’t happening. The biggest problem for the Heat? They can’t get much better. Chicago can ( play Taj and Noah more). The Heat just have nothing past the three an the warden (and to be fair Joel’s a one way guy right now).

      • EntityAbyss
        May 15

        Yea, but if you look at their playoff production, Miami has produced against much better teams. Did you take that into consideration?

  2. Chicago Tim
    May 15

    Woah, what a surprise! I knew it was close, but you sounded so sure it would be the Heat. I’m wondering, though, whether Bibby and Igaulskus will continue to get the same minutes in this series. Many people have argued that Chalmers, Jones, and Anthony are better. Too bad for the Heat (and for your personal desires) that Scalabrine is inactive.

    I’ve been looking at x and o articles comparing the Bulls’ offense to the Heat’s offense, and it depressed me. Coach Thibs seems to focus entirely on defense this year, and the Bulls offense is neither complex nor beautiful. If they don’t double team Rose, much of it is Rose iso, Rose pick and roll, Rose pick and pop. If they do double team Rose, his best response is to pull his two defenders out to half court then pass out of the double team, hoping not to turn it over and to create a 4 on 3. It’s a predictable offense, and often forces Rose into sloppy passes or difficult shots or forces the Bulls’ bigs into the unfamilar role of playmakers and distributors.

    Maybe in this series they can mix it up by going to Boozer in the post and Korver off screens, we’ll see. I would love to see Boozer turn into Zach Randolph and Korver turn into Ray Allen, but I’m not holding my breath. Still, against the Heat the Bulls might be able to hid Boozer and Korver on defense, and therefore play them more. And perhaps Boozer really did have a limiting injury which is now healed.

    What saves the Bulls’ offense are offensive rebounds leading to second chance points and defensive stops leading to fast break points. And their offense doesn’t have to be the best as long as their defense is clearly the best. Also, home court advantage means a great deal to the Bulls. They are much better at home than on the road.

    I do hope the Bulls beat the Heat this year, because if Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem come back healthy the balance could shift next year. Then again, the Bulls might find some help as well.

    • Chicago Tim
      May 15

      Oh, and Rose is 22. He should get better.

  3. EntityAbyss
    May 15

    Arturo (I just can’t let this go), did you consider that miami faced better competition in the playoffs while the bulls faced the 2 worst teams? Miami faced phili and boston. The bulls faced indiana and atlanta. Maybe, if you consider the quality of competition, the heat have been better in the playoffs. Also, if chalmers plays more than bibby, that changes things. Please give me hope.

    How about this? When chris paul carried the hornets to the wcsf against the spurs, they lost in 7. Miami has to have better than 35% considering multiple things. Remember, you said the bulls would be an outlier. The mavs beating the lakers are different, cuz the mavs have been to the finals. Doesn’t rose have a tendency to chuck against the better teams? Isn’t boozer hurt? Isn’t there diminishing returns to noah’s production? Don’t forget both lebron and wade will steal a game (superstars). If cp3 took 2, couldn’t wade and lebron take 2 each? If it goes to 7, isn’t it favorable to the superstars that get more calls? Superstar calls?

    Give me some hope. Could the numbers be wrong for once?

  4. niveklaen
    May 15

    Are the Heat best off going small with James at the 4 forcing Boozer/Taj to guard him and wasting Deng’s defensive prowress shadowing 3pt specialists Miller/Jones? That would mean that only Bosh/backup center would be unable to switch on Rose’s picks.

    or would Noah and Deng grab too many offensive boards against Bosh and Miller/Jones?

    Chicago, unlike Boston or Dallas, just looks like a team that the Heat could go small against

  5. marparker
    May 15

    Aren’t these the same numbers that picked the Cavs the last two seasons? I know Arturo has been good but the model could still be missing something. I still think the Bulls are missing a little something that every other championship team has had. Therefore, I don’t think they are the best team when it comes to having to face certain kinds of teams over 7 games. If the NBA playoffs were a round robin setup then yep, I would pick the Bulls.

  6. EntityAbyss
    May 15

    In my quest to prove you wrong, I took a look at some more numbers. In this chart , the mavs were only better than the lakers in the post all star game stretch. For the whole season and playoffs, the mavs were not better than the lakers. How did you figure just going by down the stretch, the mavs would win?

    You also talked about the outlier that the bulls would be if they won. Maybe I’m still in the first stage of grief.

    • EA,
      The mavs had the whole with Dirk/without Dirk thing going for them. Turns out the bulls hit the prerequisites for a finals team (all 5 prospective teams do).

      • winniepoo
        May 15

        Hey Arturo,

        In terms of the Bulls being outliers what about the Silver/Gold player thing. Which if I recall correctly deals with summation of high level historical playoff performance. In aprevious post you advised Chicago has no players who meet this criteria.

        Does that only affect championship aspirations and not finals aspirations? i.e. If these two teams met in the Finals Heat would be favoured because their guys have got it done before?

        I am not too fussed I picked Chicago to win. 🙂

  7. EntityAbyss
    May 15

    Hey Arturo, what do you think about Mosi’s numbers on the heat index which suggest that Miami should win the series in 6 games?

    • EA,
      His model called Heat over the C’s in 5 but he didn’t predict Rondo plays one handed. It overvalues Heat. He’s wearing fan googles.

      • EntityAbyss
        May 15

        What if Haslem and/or Miller plays and are productive?

        • EA,
          Quoting RG here: “Can’t count on injured players”.

          If they came back and if they’re productive, odds would be better for Miami but Bulls would still be at about 55% to win (or Bulls in 7 as number 1 and Heat in 6 as number two).

          • EntityAbyss
            May 15

            Considering that the bulls blew Miami out, if Miami can pull off what Atlanta did and win the close games, they’re in good shape. lol

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