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Preview: Bulls want to bring defense, muck; Heat try to break free

May 10, 2013, 3:30 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Two Getty Images

If we can be sure of one thing it is this: Game 3 Friday night in Chicago is not going to look like Game 2. At least the Bulls hope not.

In that game Miami blew Chicago out by 37. Back home Friday night don’t expect the Bulls will not make the same mistakes — they are not going to lose their cool, they will slow the game down, and they will play the gritty and tough game they are known for.

That doesn’t mean they are going to win. But it won’t be a 37-point game either.

In Game 2 the Heat came out and matched the Bulls intensity, played more aggressive defense and the result was Chicago shot just 35 percent and had 19 turnovers on the night. That allowed Miami to get out and run (Miami led 20-2 in fast break points), get some buckets before the Bulls defense got set, get more points in the paint (58-18 Miami) and start to pull away. And once the Heat pulled away the Bulls just fell apart.

In Game 3, Chicago needs to get back to grinding. They have to slow the pace down, make the Heat take the ball out of the basket, set their defense and not let the Heat shooters get comfortable.

What will be interesting is to see how the referees call the game — after what was seen as a physical Game 2 (is it really more physical than Memphis/Oklahoma City?) the league assigned Joey Crawford to this game. A referee who hands out technicals like candy at Halloween. It’s sign they want to crack down.

Which would be just fine with the Heat. The tighter the game is called, the more free flowing it is, the more they get to use their skills.

The Bulls skill players are still pretty banged up — no Derrick Rose, no Luol Deng, no Kirk Hinrich (not that Hinrich’s a skill guy). The Bulls are going to need points out of Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah inside, they are going to need the good Nate Robinson to show up.

Expect Miami to go with a heavy dose of LeBron James. As they should, he’s pretty good. Dwayne Wade hasn’t looked 100 percent but could always have a big game back in Chicago, and eventually Chris Bosh will have a big game. The key for the Heat, as it was in Game 2, is when guys like Norris Cole (or any role players) start to step up and contribute.

Also, expect to see a lot more Shane Battier — the Heat are +47 in two games when he is on the court.

The Bulls know the formula to win, the problem is they are not the better team and it’s going to be hard to execute. But at home, where role players are more likely to step up, they have a puncher’s chance.

  1. 1972wasalongtimeago - May 10, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    So the Bulls want to “muck” it up, but then they complain when fouls get called; and complain even louder (mostly to the refs) when the Heat “mucks” things up back at them.

    Guys, if your game plan is to be physical and “muck” things up, you don’t just get to foul without consequences; from the refs or your opponent.

    Bottom line though is that it isn’t about the “muck”. Its about whether any one or two of Bosh, Allen, Battier, Chalmers, and Cole are hitting their shots at a high %. If they are, it’s game over; the Heat are going to win. If not, and the Bulls are hitting their shots at a high %, the Bulls have a good shot.

    • gmsingh - May 10, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Who did you say got all the flagrants in game 2?

    • bougin89 - May 10, 2013 at 4:11 PM

      The Bulls did lose their cool in game 2 but do you really think they consistently complain more than Lebron and Wade?

      Lebron and Wade play very physical(as they should) because they are the best athletes on the court at their positions(and I would argue Lebron is the most athletic NBA player ever if you factor in size, strength, speed, jumping, etc.) but they argue and flop as much or more than anyone.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 10, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        Got to admit I’ve seen exactly 6 Bulls games in full games this year. Can’t really get to know a team from watching Sportscenter, or by catching a few minutes here or there when flipping around.

        I do know that the Heat work the refs. It’s part of their game. But it’s no worse than anyone else. They just get an inordinate amount of attention. I actually can’t remember one tech being called for arguing with a ref this season. If it happened, it didn’t happen more than once or twice. The Heat’s techs are usually for staring down an opponent or playing too rough. Not complaining to refs.

      • bougin89 - May 18, 2013 at 11:06 PM

        Wow, just staring down a ref? Not being extremely overdramatic on every call? You are delusional.

    • hickoryhigh - May 10, 2013 at 4:19 PM

      1972 is right; the body block of Nate Robinson by Haslam on the first play of the game, and DWade throwing the ball at the dude on the second play of the game, is just typical Chicago Bulls cry baby complaining. That’s what the Heat call good, physical basketball.

    • chicitybulls - May 10, 2013 at 4:40 PM

      You said this before in another post but never gave an example. When or what Bull player ever complained about a hard foul or got into the face of another heat player because of a hard foul? The Bulls are ok with physical play, giving or receiving. Wade is the one that threw the ball at Belinelli (really, you go after Belinelli?) and chalmers (fake tough guy who is delusional thinking he’s a top 10 pg in the league) is the one who grabbed Noah around the neck. Noah didn’t even complain about it. Chalmers got in his face after he did what he did. Most likely to get Noah to react and get tossed. Noah did eventually get tossed but on his own terms. I think…..I know deep down you would prefer and clean game as opposed to a “muck it up” or physical, old school, 80s/90s playoff game.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 10, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        The quote below is from Tom Thibodeau in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune

        “We can’t afford to have situations in which we’re complaining to officials and they’re racing the ball up and laying it in.” Thibodeau added: “We know how it will be called. We’re not going to get calls. It’s just the way it is”

        I think that would be considered complaining. I think multiple players Mother Effing the refs in the middle of the game over calls would be considered complaining.

      • chicitybulls - May 10, 2013 at 5:34 PM

        Maybe it’s just semantics but I think it’s a little different from how either you put it or how I took it. Obviously Taj was complaining to the refs for the terrible calls (being pushed in the back and getting called for travelling) but not really about physical over the top play or “non basketball plays”. I think that quote you gave from Thibs is his way of trying to work the refs, particularly the “we’re not going to get that call here. That’s just the way it is” line as most coaches do in the playoffs. But we probably will just have to agree to disagree.

    • emosnar - May 10, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      This is another example of media bias. Where has Chicago ever “mucked” up a game? That’s disrespectful to the coach and the storied franchise as if they don’t have any sense of play calling or strategy. Just because Chicago is based on a half court offense and strong defense doesn’t mean “muck”. Granted you don’t see high flying dunks and alley oops but its basketball. Same reason you don’t see “Lob city “in the playoffs any more, that loose style of ball is for the regular season not playoffs.

      Miami mucked game 2 up because they’re offense sputters against Chicago’s elite defense. Chicago was physical game 1, Miami was dirty physical.

      Wake up people! I live in AZ not a bulls fan or heat fan. on that note GO PACERS!!!!

    • cantonbound13 - May 10, 2013 at 8:09 PM

      Muck the Heat & their bandwagon fans!

  2. rodge1 - May 10, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    If Boozer spent less time painting that weird beard of his and more time working on his game the Bulls might have a chance.

    • supremekingz - May 10, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      Agreed X10000000000000000000000000000

  3. supremekingz - May 10, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    I begged for a great game from Boozer last game. I really wanted Boozer to fiiiiinally man up, put a team on his back, score 30+ and earn his paycheck. … And then we lost by 37.

    Forget Boozer. I just hope the refs stop calling ticky tack fouls on Taj so he can dunk on D-Wade again. Taj is a better overall ball player than Boozer and we need some scoring down low and better paint protection defense.

    I hope somebody on the team steps up offensively. They need to dig deep and drink some Space Jam juice. If they can pull this off, they’ll be the biggest shock in the NBA for the last 15-20 years, and they will get credit without having all the praise going to D-Rose.

    Da Bullz!!!

  4. chicitybulls - May 10, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    The league assigns Joey Crawford to this game? A guy who tossed Tim Duncan for laughing….on the bench and got suspended for it? It’s going to be an ugly game.

  5. jghouse69 - May 10, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    Everyone mad cuz they think physical teams can beat the Heat inside and we’re to soft to handle it. The Heat just trying to match the physical play. don’t cry now, ya asked for it. ee are physical when it counts.

    • cincyorangenblack - May 10, 2013 at 6:09 PM

      which apparently doesn’t count in the classroom…

  6. cincyorangenblack - May 10, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    There is no way that David Stern will allow the Bulls to stay competitive in this series. Look for another Ref fueled Heat run to close out the first and second quarters, then to start the 3rd. Lebron is the new NBA darling (and rightfully so, he’s the best player on the planet). But to insult fans inteligence by suggesting or pretending the refs aren’t/don’t play a major part in controlling playoff games is downright shameful.

    But hey, someone has to take the reigns of the Chinese market since Kobe no longer has what it takes to win championships, and the Chinese only idolize ‘current’ champion superstars. (Side Note- D Wade’s shoe contract/supplier back’s up this theory one thousand fold. Atleast he isn’t letting pride get in the way of feeding off Lebron’s greatness)


  7. cincyorangenblack - May 10, 2013 at 6:00 PM


    You are an absolute clown. The reason Bulls players lost their composure last game was because of how lopsided the officiating was. Not talking about tech’s or flagrants. I’m talking about the ticky-tack fouls that are only being called AGAINST the Bulls. Read Tib’s comments again “we won’t get the calls”, he was saying what non Heat-ignorant fans can see- that the refs are calling games w/2 diff sets of rules.

    I’m not saying the Bulls are the better team this year- clearly they aren’t and frankly if the Heat lose this series they should be ashamed. But don’t bring that cry-baby Bulls argument around here Gramps, not a good look

    • melkipershero - May 10, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      This is why I hate when any team complains about the refs. The NBA has an agenda and if you dont see that you just don’t get it or don’t want to see it. The Heat get MORE calls than other teams but that doesn’t take away from how great they are. MJ also get a ton of calls. Superstars and superteams get calls in the NBA and it’s been like that forever. This is why some people hate the NBA.

  8. iowahbr - May 10, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    Not sure that Wednesday’s game was not some cross-pollination of sumo and basketball but Mr. Barkley notwithstanding, most of us would like to see Doc Naismith’s game tonight. Leave the chippy stuff for the half-time analysts. Bulls should show and lose by 3 in a tight game.

  9. jbeagles23 - May 10, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    They don’t beg for the calls. They take it to the basket and get fouled. It’s not the league. Dirk has Ben a superstar for years and doesn’t get calls cause he’s not aggressive

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