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It makes a Bulls fan gravely ill of course, and heck, it makes most sports fans sick - the thought of Miami's preening peacocks pushing through and winning the Eastern Conference. It is too infuriating to contemplate for too long.
But it wasn't the Heat who engaged in the most objectionable behavior in Game 3, a furious battle in which Miami never, ever faltered on its way to a 96-85 triumph.
In fact, a fan had to be impressed with the way the Heat responded when the Bulls tried voicing a little trash in both halves.
First it was Taj Gibson who was going to intimidate Chris Bosh with some angry chatter in the second quarter. All Bosh (who had missed his first three shots on the evening) did was respond with 13 makes in 15 attempts the rest of the game. He carried the Heat offense throughout, ensuring it wouldn't experience the kind of lulls that could have given the Bulls an opening.
That was the thing about this game. The Heat established command and would not relinquish it no matter what. If Miami can sustain that level of play for two more games, it is hard to see how the Bulls mount an effective and decisive counter-attack.
Keith Bogans got into the act in the third quarter, trying to bump and talk Dwyane Wade off his game. It didn't result in the same sort of offensive explosion as Gibson's ill-advised foray, but Wade was anything but distracted as the intractable Heat kept pushing, pushing, pushing toward victory. The Bulls' refuse rhetoric wasn't over-the-top; heck, Michael Jordan engaged in worse hundreds of times. But it ensured that any list of the opposing teams' annoying attributes wouldn't start with the Heat for one night.
Oh by the way, if Bosh keeps playing like that, the Bulls are in deep, deep doo-doo. They already usually don't have a second scoring option to match whichever of Miami's big two isn't the alpha dog that day. And as far as the No. 3 is concerned, well, they couldn't have less of an answer for a dominant Bosh.
If I'm Tom Thibodeau, I'm giving Kyle Korver a break in Game 4. Some of the criticism of the shooting guard has been over the top, but there is no denying that Game 3 really got away from the Bulls after he came in. It is time to try the two-man rotation at two-guard, i.e., to bring Bogans back in when Ronnie Brewer runs out of gas. The Bulls simply lose too much defensively when Korver is on the floor to justify any sort of offensive boost.
This will probably result in Bogans having to take more shots as the Heat sags off him to help on Derrick Rose, but he had made 46 percent of his playoff threes going into last night's game. Granted most, if not all, of those were wide-open efforts near the beginnings of halves, not pressure-packed attempts down the final stretches of games. But at least Bogans can hold his own defensively against Wade and even LeBron James at times.
That sequence when James broke out on a fast break in the fourth quarter with only Korver to beat and just shrugged off Korver's pathetic attempt to intentionally foul him on his way to the three-point play that officially broke the Bulls' backs - that will be hard for Korver to live down.
Carlos Boozer played a great game. Not only was he the scorer the Bulls desperately need him to be but he also won several impressive physical battles in the second half. But it seemed as though once he heated up, Derrick Rose was content to just get him the ball and call it a possession. The Bulls need big contributions from both Boozer and Rose and they didn't get it from the latter on Sunday.
One thing that is killing the Bulls offense is that James is too strong and too quick for Luol Deng. Deng's driving has just about been eliminated the past few games and the Bulls desperately need at least occasional forays to the hoop from their second scoring option (third if Boozer can keep it going).
Wrapping it up now . . .
Why can't people in certain towns (helloooo Miami) figure out that the "White Out" when all the fans wear the same color shirt is perhaps the stupidest thing they can do? They understand that white is the color of surrender don't they? What is the color of the flag that forces raise when they give up? Oh yeah, white. What is invariably the color of the towel a boxer's corner tosses into the ring when they insist that the fight be stopped? You know the answer.
There was a great crowd shot toward the end of the broadcast that showed one fan who had declined to join the sheep and don the white clothes. Heat president Pat Riley was in the stands in a classically conservative dark suit. Steve Kerr noted that Riley seemed to be taking notes but the main thing he was doing was making a statement that you don't have to look like an idiot at a sporting event just because everyone else does.
The Official NBA Recap:
Rose: 'Our Will Wasn't There Tonight'
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Posted on Mar 16, 2018