The Bulls did everything they could to pull out a game four win in the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night. They played great defense, holding Dwayne Wade in check for most of the game, and they played timely offense, getting the points they needed when they needed it. The only thing they didn't do was make the game winning shot as time expired, sending the game into overtime where the Miami Heat took control of the game, and the series, with a 101-93 win.
"Hey, they're a great team," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "They compete. They play hard. They play great defense ... and they made plays at the end."
The Heat played sluggish and full of themselves but talent and experience matter in these situations and the Heat have both so when they needed to step up to take control of this game, they did, sending the Bulls back to Chicago looking for answers with their heads full of what ifs.
"You could tell that neither team wanted to lose," Wade said. "Both teams were clawing. If you're a fan of the game, this was a great basketball game. ... This was will."
While the series isn't over yet, game 5 is Thursday night in Chicago, the Bulls face as daunting task as any faced before them in trying to dig their way out of this hole. On the bright side, they do have 2 out of the final 3 games at home so if the Heat falter any, Chicago is still in position to pounce.
"It's one game away," James said. "We're not taking anything for granted."
This series hasn't been a good one for fans of high scoring back and forth games as defense has been the mantra of both these teams. With neither team being able to do much with the ball but defend it, this series has been as close as you can get through four games (with the exception of Chicago's game 1 blowout of Miami).
"Defense is the reason that we're here," Bosh said. "Defense is the reason that we win every game. And defense is the reason why we have a chance of winning Game 5."
From the looks of things in this series, it appears that the Bulls are one shooter short of what they need to beat the Heat. Without that extra scorer, Miami has been able to double up and harass MVP Derrick Rose to such a point that he has been largely a non-factor. If they have any chance to turn this around, they are going to need to get better production from the offensive end.
That's a somewhat obvious statement but it doesn't change the fact that it's true.
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