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NBA Playoffs: Bulls bring energy but shooting betrays them

May 25, 2011, 2:03 AM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Four Getty Images

Derrick Rose was true to his word, he attacked the rim with a recklessness and aggressiveness not seen in this series.

The Bulls played defense with energy and desperation not seen this series.

And it was not enough — in the end they simply did not shoot the ball well enough from the outside to space the floor and create room for penetration, which led to more jumpshots they missed.

As a team, the Bulls shot 27.1 percent from beyond 10 feet in Game 4, and 25 percent from three. (stats via Hoopdata)

On the other side of the floor, Mike Miller came off the bench — and for Heat fans back from the dead — to knock down outside shots that helped key the Heat’s 101-93 victory.

The Bulls in the first quarter got the game to go their way. They were physical on defense and slowed the Heat attack, they created turnovers and turned those into some fast break points. But through it all their outside shots were still not falling, and as the game wears on the guys got tired the Bulls more and more seemed to settle for the jump shot. Yet those were not falling as the Bulls were 6-of-24 from three.

Neither the Heat nor the Bulls run a lot of post up plays, both get their points in the paint primarily through penetration. This has been a fantastic defensive series — both teams have walled off the paint and been very physical with whomever drives the ball. Even with some of the best penetrators in the game — Rose, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade — attacking the rim has been a chore.

The Heat have put up a wall of players in front of Rose when he wants to drive. With the Bulls shooting 6-for-24 from three, the Heat do not have to come out of the paint to respect that shot. They can create those walls and pack the paint. In the first half Rose attacked that anyway and had the monster dunk over Joel Anthony. He got some easy buckets (for him anyway) in transition. But in the second half, as he got tired, he started to settle more for jump shots. His went 1-of-9 from three. Kyle Korver is the designated shooter but he was 0-for-3 from three. Nobody on the Bulls was able to knock down shots.

Mike Miller changed that dynamic for the Heat. He went 2-of-5 from three and 5-of-8 overall, finishing with a dozen points. The Bulls had to respect his outside shot and defend it. There was a reason he was a game high +36 on the night.

That drew the Bulls defense out and gave the Heat more room inside for penetration and offensive rebounds. Miami had just two fewer offensive rebounds than Chicago (10-8) and that is a battle the Bulls need to win big.

“Mike gave us a real boost,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game in an interview broadcast on NBA TV. “Real aggressive looking for his opportunities, and they do such a tremendous job of protecting the paint and he was able to break free a couple of times. We love it. We love him even when he’s taking shots he doesn’t think he should.”

At the end of the game, with no other shooters a threat, the Bulls really had no choice but to flatten out and have Rose attack in isolation against LeBron. If Rose had not been so exhausted from the long minutes in a physical game he might have tried to get to the rim rather than settle for a jumper over a taller LeBron, but we will never know. What we do know is that shot missed.

LeBron and the Heat have taken their share of jumpers in this series because of the Bulls defense. But they hit 38.5 percent in this game, they knocked their jumpers down. Or at least enough to be up 3-1 in the series and in total command.

And the Bulls are not going to win one more game, let alone three, without knocking down some outside shots. It’s the only way.

  1. fern361mia - May 25, 2011 at 4:15 AM

    Lebron is finally playing up to his potential, dont under play the defense wade is playing. First it was rondo and allen he was chasing, now it’s rose and kover thats alot of running!!! Miam vs Dallas rematch . Same results? …. I hope so.

  2. edcolton - May 25, 2011 at 5:50 AM

    Cleveland still mad. Lebron gave some of the best years of his life there. the owner did not surround him with anyone to win. It was all on James. So glad he came to Miami where he and the Heat will win the 2011 title.

    He has handled all the hate speech with such class. Thought we had a hate speech law.? Not enforced in Cleveland.

    Maybe Indians will finish 3rd this year and give some relief. Ohio State sure is a loser on all fronts.Tennessee got rid of Pearl for lying. I guess Tressel with not be thrown under the train trestle like he should be.

    Go Lebron!

  3. edcolton - May 25, 2011 at 5:53 AM

    Rose has a Miami defense against that makes him look not so MVP. Good player but way overrated

    • hnirobert3 - May 25, 2011 at 8:08 AM

      I love my Heat and everything they’re doing, but Rose is still the MVP. If it wasn’t for Rose, a) the series would be over by now and b) the Heat would win by 25+ every game. LeBron knows better than anyone else, the playoffs are extremely difficult when it’s 1 on 5.

      • southbeachtalent - May 25, 2011 at 8:54 AM

        I agree Rose ia s great player but like I have said he can’t do it alone. That Heat defense is too stingy!

    • philtration - May 25, 2011 at 8:52 AM

      Really stupid comment but that is nothing new on this site.

  4. bils293 - May 25, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    i dont understand why all these articles keep referring to the long minutes drose played and how exhausted he must have been, lebron played the exact same amount of minutes and still had enough gas in the tank to close them out

  5. thisisether - May 25, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    how can Derrick Rose be overrated? tell me…please…i wanna hear this….what you arr saying is that just because he is the MVP (youngest ever in history) , if he doesnt win a championship this year, he is overrated??? so all MVPs not winning championships are overrated, right?
    He is playing on a team where not one single person can make a basketball play or create anything for themself or others….
    take the SKIP BAYLESS overrated story else where, please..

  6. miami4allday - May 25, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    Na Dude is not overrated, what he does is crazy. He is a beast! Just as lebron was in Cleveland with no help.

  7. fern361mia - May 25, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    8for 27 23 points 6 ass 7 to nuff said . Rose had one good game,and we all know if james ever played like that the media would kill him. But not rose they love him. T he anti-lebron… go heat!

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