Heat 3 – Bulls 1

Image from hothothoops.com

At the end of the night, it came down to who was going to be able to push through the overtime.

Miami’s big three, elevated from the volume of appreciation from their home crowd, were responsible for the entirety of the Heat’s offense, scoring 16 points including 6-6 from the line.

Derrick Rose shot the ball only three times in the period. Two of those attempts were blocked by Wade, and the third was a 71 footer as time expired.

The Bulls, meanwhile, went 2 for 8 (Brewer, Korver), and made it to the line twice.

It’s easy to point out that the Bulls looked thoroughly gassed in the extra period. Guys like Noah and Rose started the game with a particular intensity that looked to take a lot out of them. The Chicago starters averaged 42 minutes last night, with Rose and Boozer each contributing 49. By way of comparison, the Miami starters averaged 36.8 minutes, and guys like Wade clearly still had juice to spend as they headed down the stretch.

It’s easy to say that for 48 minutes, the Bulls played with guts and with heart, and had a couple plays in the 4th gone another way, this series would be 2-2 heading back to Chicago.

But from another perspective, the narrative that the Chicago Bulls are too dependent on Derrick Rose earned some additional validity last night. In the build up to last night’s game, the basketball world was flush with opinion that the Bulls fate in the series leaned on the MVP’s shoulders. Rose pressed that he intended to play with intensity and aggression. And for a while he did, but at the end of the night, Rose finished up 8-27 and 1-9 from three. He was Chicago’s leading scorer, but he provided only 23 points. The remaining Chicago starters went 28-46 from the field and 4-11 from three.

The game was a battle throughout, with each team slugging away at each other, but as Rose punched himself out, his team was unable to come to his rescue.

Unlike other voices I’ve read through the day, I feel like Chicago comes back to win Game 5 in Chicago, but they face an uphill battle to even get through Game 6 to even force a Game 7.

Hardwood Paroxysm