Bulls starting to feel the Heat in Eastern Conference Finals
One win, that’s all the Miami Heat need to return to the finals for the first time since 2006. One win, that’s all it will take for “the King” to get his second chance at his first ring. One win. But judging by last night’s game, that may be easier said than done. While it was true that the Heat emerged victorious during the game, it wasn’t without quite the fight from the Bulls. The game was extended in to overtime and for a large
part of regulation the Heat seemed to be on the ropes.
For much of the game, the big three of the Heat weren’t exactly lighting it up on offense. One may look at the box score and see that they all ended with at least 14 points, but there were long stretches where they proved ineffective. This was especially evident with former finals MVP Dwayne Wade, who did not score the entire second half. But there were signs that might prove discouraging for those looking for a Bulls comeback.
The signs from the Heat that should worry Chicago are aplenty. First and foremost, is their improved play defensively. James has proved extremely effective guarding Derek Rose, and last night was no exception. While Rose didend with a respectable 23 points; he also shot an abysmal 8-of-27 and committed 7 turnovers. “It’s extremely hard,” Rose said. “When a 6-8 guy can easily defend you.” But this wasn’t the only storyline. Chris Bosh has seemed to respond to Carlos Boozer’s comments about his ineffectiveness but starting to play with the grit and aggressiveness that had previously been missing from his game. And while completelyineffective during the second half, Wade was the Heat’s best player in overtime and his team seemed to rally around him.
The problems with the Bulls don’t end with the Heat, as a lot of them are of their own creation. Rose hasn’t been himself and is only shooting 39 percent for the series. He had a chance to win the game with 28 seconds left and missed. He seems discouraged by his ineffectiveness and it’s causing his play to continue to slide. The young point guard is just that: young. He is unaccustomed to these situations and the adversity seems to be taking its toll. The same can be said about Joakim Noah. Fresh off a $50,000 fine, Noah wasn’t himself in game 4. He had only 6
points and was lacking tenacity and aggressiveness. The fight seems to be missing from the team and they will need a large spark if they would like to mount any sort of comeback.
Their tone seems discouraged. Sure they are saying the usual comments like “it’s not over” and such, but they seem very much like a defeated team. A lot of this has to do with Rose putting too much of the blame on himself. Rose obviously was upset over missing the shot that would have won the game but said the right thing: “all I can do now is put it behind me and go forward.”
Rose is best served listening to his own advice. What’s done is done. He needs to get his focus, and more importantly confidence back if the Bulls want any hope of coming back in the series. He is the catalyst for the team, and if he responds well then there is a good chance his teammates will follow suit. He needs to get back to the things that made him the youngest MVP; otherwise Chicago’s summer may start very soon.
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