Friday, May 10, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Heat 104, Bulls 94
By Nick Friedell
CHICAGO -- Here's a quick look at how the Miami Heat earned a hard-fought 104-94 win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night at the United Center in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Heat lead the series 2-1.
How it happened: Chris Bosh had a monster game for the Heat, going off for 20 points, 19 rebounds and 4 assists as the Heat ground this one out at the end. LeBron James almost had a triple-double, scoring 25 points, grabbing 8 rebounds and totaling 7 assists. Carlos Boozer had his best game of the series with 21 points, but the Bulls could not make enough plays down the stretch and it cost them.
What it means: This game brought one of the Bulls' biggest fears to the forefront. The Bulls play hard, they play tough and they play with a passion that usually fires an entire city up -- as was the case on Friday night. The problem is that they just don't have enough playmakers who can be consistently counted on to provide offense and make plays when it matters most. The Bulls struggled to make big shots late in the game despite doing almost everything else they needed to in order to win. What has to be almost as troubling for Tom Thibodeau is the fact that his team exerted so much energy and emotion in this game and still came up short. The Bulls had chances in this one but they couldn't take advantage of them. Heart and hustle can take a team a long way, but talent, and clutch shooting, usually wins out. That was the case in Game 3.
Hits: Norris Cole had 18 points off the bench for Miami, including a clutch 3-pointer with 1:48 left in regulation that served as the final dagger for the Bulls.
Misses: Taj Gibson was just 2-for-9 from the field and had six points.
Stat of the night: After getting destroyed by Miami in the paint in Game 2, the Bulls outscored the Heat 44-28 down low -- but it didn't matter in the end.
What's next: Game 4 is at 6 p.m. CT Monday in Chicago.