The Miami Heat have done it before and look to do it again. The Heat seem to lose Game 1 of a series and then win the next four games to advance further into the playoffs. The Bulls took the Heat by surprise in Game 1 in Miami and since then Chicago has lost each game as well as their cool.
Even with the mantra “Next Man Up” that was symbolizing the Bulls injury plagued team, the crowd was taken out of the game pretty quickly. The Bulls only lead of the game was when they scored first. After an 11-0 run by Miami, the Bulls trailed for the rest of the game.
You do have to give the Bulls credit with keeping two of the four games close especially when they are not playing some of their All-Stars like Derrick Rose. The Bulls looked to use toughness and grit to try and get physical with the Heat. In Games 2 and 3, Chicago had a total of eight technical fouls and three ejections. Last night the only technical in the game was when the Bulls were called for a three second violation.
LeBron James led the way with 27 points and almost had a triple double. He had 8 assists and 7 rebounds. Chris Bosh scored 14 points in a game that was dominated by the Heat.
Chicago now has to travel to Miami and try to steal Game 5 from the Heat. Joakim Noah knows that he and his team need to have a better performance to even make it a close game.
“We didn’t execute,” Noah said. “We didn’t play well tonight. Our energy wasn’t good. Mentally, we were a little drained because we weren’t hitting shots.”
Speaking of not executing, Nate Robinson, who has been the star for the Bulls in this playoff series, did not score at all. He was 0 for 12 last night.
“I just didn’t make no shots tonight,” Robinson said. “That’s all.”
LeBron seems to feel sorry for the Bulls with some of his comments. He said, “They’re in a tough situation because of injuries and illnesses and whatever’s going on. But that’s not for us to worry about.”
What the Heat do need to worry about is Dwyane Wade. He has been very quiet this series. Some are saying that because this series is so physical Wade does not want to get reinjured. That may be the case, but what happens if this type of production carries on through the next series.
“Just a shooting pain,” Wade said. “It hurt, but eventually I was able to come back, retape my knee and try to finish.”
Another item of concern for Miami is that they have to look at how close some of these games have been against a Chicago team that has been depleted due to injury. If the Heat are having trouble with the Bulls just wait for the Grizzlies or Spurs.
The Heat look poised to finish off this series in Miami, but if they are looking to repeat as World Champions they will need to make sure Wade is healthy and that they can match up with the Grizzlies or Spurs, the two teams I think that have the greatest chance to advance to the NBA Finals from the West.