Eastern Conference Finals Game 4: Heat Win 101-93, Lead Series 3-1

Posted by By at 26 May, at 00 : 36 AM Print

Eastern Conference Finals Game 4: Heat Win 101-93, Lead Series 3-1

The Heat moved to within one win of their first trip to the NBA Finals since 2006 with a 101-93 overtime victory over the Bulls last night. The game could have gone Chicago’s way had the last eight seconds of regulation went their way. Instead it went the way of Miami, who seized control of the game in overtime, and now needs just one win in the remaining three games to knock off the Eastern Conference’s top seed.

As he’s done all series LeBron James led the way for Miami with 35 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Despite all he did for the first 47 minutes and 52 seconds a costly offensive foul on his part turned the ball over to Chicago with eight seconds left in the fourth quarter with the game tied at 85. He redeemed himself by forcing Derrick Rose into a tough fade away jumper that rimmed out as time expired to force overtime. Where LeBron left off, Dwayne Wade picked up. Wade’s 2 blocks of Rose in overtime, and layup that all but sealed the game, helped mask his less than stellar game prior to overtime. He finished with 14 points on 5-16 from the floor to go along with 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and 4 blocks.

Chris Bosh had his second straight extremely efficient game shooting 50% from the floor and 91% from the free-throw line to finish with 22 points. It was his constant barrage of 18-foot jumpers in the fourth quarter that kept the Bulls from pulling away and claiming a victory in regulation. The Mike Miller that Pat Riley envisioned when he hand picked him to be the small forward for this year’s team showed up in a big way, when it was much needed. For most of the game he outscored Wade and had it not been for two clutch shots Wade hit in overtime he would have. Miller finished with 12 points and tied for the team lead with 9 rebounds in 26 minutes. Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony combined for 4 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, and 4 blocks. Mario Chalmers came off the bench to contribute 9 points shooting a perfect 3-3 from the floor, including 2-2 from behind the arc, and also had 4 steals.

After the game Derrick Rose blamed himself for the loss and while basketball is a team sport it’s understandable why he felt that way after watching the game. He missed a chance to send Chicago back to the United Center with the series tied 2-2 when his jumper at the end of regulation rimmed out. He also had two costly turnovers that lead to Heat baskets at the other end late in the game. Rose didn’t lose the game on his own despite what he may be feeling today. He ended up with 23 points, making only 8 of his 27 shots, and 6 assists. His 7 turnover are no doubt what he probably lost some sleep over. Poor defense and turnovers at bad moments in overtime proved to be the ultimate undoing of Chicago and is why they are now in a 3-1 hole in the series.

While Joakim Noah didn’t shoot well, only going 3-10, he played with much more energy than the he did in game three. His 14 points were a game high and he even showed the ability to pass, tying for the team lead with 6 assists. Carlos Boozer had a solid double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Loul Deng also chipped in with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. Both Boozer and Deng shot 50% from the floor, a welcomed sight by Bulls fans and Tom Thibodeau as they picked up the slack for Rose’s poor shooting night. Ronnie Brewer came off the bench to score 7, Kyle Korver added 5, and C.J. Watson scored 6 to round out the scoring the the Bulls on the night.

While I’m sure Miami would love to clinch the series at home, that would mean losing game 5 in Chicago, something I know is not an option in any of their minds. If they can bottle up Rose one more time and keep Boozer and Deng to manageable, not breakout games, a trip to the Finals will await them. There should be little need for a motivational speech from Erik Spoelstra as the light at the end of the tunnel is near and should be all the motivation the Heat need to push for closing the series tomorrow and not giving the Bulls a lifeline.

A trip home could be just what Chicago needs after losing three in a row for the first time all season. With their season on the line they have nothing to lose and playing with anything less than an utmost sense of urgency tomorrow will all but seal the deal, a 4-1 Eastern Conference Finals loss. Rose can’t spend too much time beating himself up over game 4 as he will be needed more than ever. Basically it will be all hands on deck tomorrow as any buttons pushed by Tom Thibodeau need to work. He’s got alot of options to choose from and the coach of the year will need to choose them wisely.

Erik Spoelstra called this series a “bloodbath” after last night’s game and tomorrow should be no different.

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