(Sports Network) - The Miami Heat can close out the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday
night when Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal matchup heads back to
The Heat have won three in a row since their shocking Game 1 loss at home.
Miami took both contests in Chicago, including an 88-65 drubbing of the Bulls
"We're always undermanned and have to put forth a lot of energy to make up for
bodies we don't have," said Bulls reserve forward Taj Gibson. "Tonight we just
didn't have the energy. No excuses. We just did not have it."
The 65 points was a franchise playoff low for a Chicago team that only managed
nine points in the third quarter of Game 4. They also shot an all-time
postseason-worst 25.7 percent from the floor.
Since the Game 1 win, the Bulls have lost by an average of 23.3 ppg and all
three losses came by double digits.
Of course, the Bulls are decimated by injuries. Derrick Rose hasn't played
since he tore his ACL in the first playoff game last season. Luol Deng and
Kirk Hinrich have both missed this entire series.
"They're in a tough situation," said LeBron James, the reigning MVP. "They've
had some injuries and illnesses and whatever's going on. They don't have their
full roster. But that's not for us to worry about. They beat a very good
Brooklyn team without their full roster."
Some of the Bulls pointed to that Brooklyn series. The Nets were down 3-1 to
Chicago, but forced a Game 7.
"It's disappointing. But there is still basketball left," said Joakim Noah,
who was named to the All-Defensive First Team on Monday. "It's not the end.
It's do or die. We've got to go to Miami and get a win and go to Game 6."
Carlos Boozer led the Bulls in Game 4 with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Jimmy
Butler, Gibson and Rip Hamilton, who hadn't played all series long, all scored
in double figures.
James paced the Heat with 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, which
were all team-highs. Chris Bosh netted 14 and blocked four shots.
Nine other Miami players scored on Monday night, although Mike Miller and Joel
Anthony were the only Heat players who didn't score on Monday. Both played
less than three minutes.
Dwyane Wade has been noticeably absent from the scoring column. He's only
averaged 11.2 ppg during this series and only managed six points in Game 4.
Wade has been plagued by knee troubles and the extra rest he's been getting
hasn't helped. He missed a good portion of the end of the regular season, sat
out Game 4 of the Heat's first-round series with the Milwaukee Bucks, and had
a week off before the Bulls' series began.
"Sometimes it feels good, sometimes it doesn't," Wade told the Palm Beach
Post. "Just try to go out there and continue to do what I can."
The Bulls did win Game 1 in Miami and took one of the regular-season meetings
at American Airlines Arena.
If Chicago wins on Wednesday, Game 6 will be Friday night in the Windy City.
The Sports Network