James, Heat shut down Bulls in Game 4
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
CHICAGO — Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra wanted a better start for his team in Game 4.
“It’s concentration. It’s not a matter of want,” Spoelstra said Monday morning at Miami’s shootaround. “It’s not a matter of not necessarily bringing effort. It’s focusing on details, and for us on both ends of the court, we had mentally lackadaisical plays.”
Miami’s commitment to concentration on offense and defense led to a dominant 88-65 victory and an authoritative 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Forward LeBron James had 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and Chris Bosh added 14 points and six rebounds for the Heat, who shot 48.5% from the field and held the Bulls to 26.0% shooting, including 16.7% on 2-for-16 three-pointers.
The Bulls set franchise playoff lows in points (previously 69 vs. the Detroit Pistons on May 5, 2007) and field goal percentage (previously 31.1% against the Pistons on June 3, 1990).
The Heat trailed 2-0, scored the next three points and never trailed again, building a 44-33 halftime lead. They buried the Bulls with a 17-9 third quarter and took a 61-42 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Chicago’s nine points in the third was their lowest scoring quarter of the season, and it was the fewest points the Heat have allowed in the third quarter of playoff game in franchise history. Seven of Chicago’s 17 turnovers came in the quarter.
The meter on the gas gauge is on empty for the Bulls, impressive as they have been with a depleted roster. Guard Nate Robinson missed all 12 shots he took, forward Carlos Boozer shot 3-for-14 and Joakim Noah went 1-for-6. Not one Bulls starter shot better than 50% from the field.
The series is looking all too much like the Bulls-Heat Eastern Conference finals in 2011 when the Bulls won Game 1, like this series, and then the Heat won the next four. Game 5 is Wednesday in Miami (7 p.m. ET, TNT).
Just eight teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit. The Phoenix Suns were the most recent to do it, beating the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round in … [For more on LeBron James, Heat shut down injured Bulls in Game 4, click here.]