The Chicago Bulls had a golden opportunity to take a 2-1 series lead over the Miami Heat on Friday night, but their efforts fell just short in a 104-94 loss. In a game that somewhat resembled the physical nature of Game 2 in Miami, ultimately, the Bulls' lack of depth – due to injury and an ejection – played a very large role in the loss.
Now the Bulls have their backs against the wall as Game 4 looms on Monday night and they desperately want to avoid going down 3-1 in the series, a deficit that no team has ever been able to overcome.
The Bulls had all five starters score in double-digits, led by Carlos Boozer (21 points) who had been a no-show in Games 1 and 2. Nate Robinson (17 points, six rebounds, seven assists) played well and Jimmy Butler (17 points, five rebounds) did a great job while having to contend with LeBron James once again. Joakim Noah (15 points, 11 rebounds) contributed a double-double and Marco Belinelli (16 points, six assists) played well also. Chicago shot 46 percent from the field and dominated the Heat scoring in the paint, 44-28, and second-chance points, 14-4. The Bulls also scored 18 points off the Heat’s turnovers.
Chicago usually won’t win games if they’re outrebounded. And although the margin wasn’t a lot, Miami still held a 39-37 advantage on the glass. The Bulls also allowed the Heat to shoot 50 percent from the field in the game.
Nazr Mohammed’s shove on LeBron James with 9:29 on the clock in the second quarter affected the already shorthanded Bulls and forced Tom Thibodeau to play just seven players in the game. As a result, the Heat bench outscored the Bulls in dominating fashion, 36-8. Chicago also had trouble connecting from downtown, shooting just 32 percent from beyond the arc. Lastly, Game 2 was one the Bulls had to win to give themselves a chance in the series and it would seem that being shorthanded against a deep and talented Miami Heat squad is starting to catch up with them.
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