LeBron James and the Miami Heat didn’t even give the Bulls room to breathe, practically squeezing the playoff life out of them to take a commanding lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal.
Another effort like this can seal it.
James scored 27 points and the Miami Heat nearly matched a franchise record for fewest points allowed in a playoff game, pounding the listless and short-handed Chicago Bulls 88-65 to take a 3-1 lead in the series.
”We worked for it,” declared Heat forward Chris Bosh. ”I never like to say that things are easy.”
The Heat sure made it look that way, though.
The 65 points allowed were only 2 more than the all-time postseason low for a Miami Heat opponent, which was easily the worst offensive performance by a Chicago team in the playoffs.
Never before had the Chicago Bulls scored fewer than 69 in a playoff game nor 10 or less in a quarter in the postseason, but both those marks fell on a night when they were dominated on both ends of the floor.
Miami Heat led by 11 at the half and put this one away in the 3rd quarter, outscoring Chicago Bulls17-9 in the period.
Now the Miami Heat will make efforts to wrap up the series at home, taking what they hope will become the next step toward a 2nd straight championship. Baseball lines
It’s hard to believe the Chicago Bulls won the series opener the way in which the past 3 games have gone.
Miami pounded Bulls in Game 2, coming away with its most lopsided playoff victory while handing the Chicago Bulls their worst ever postseason loss – and the Heat continued to roll from there.
James had his usual complete game with 8 assists and 7 rebounds.
Bosh finished with 14 points after scoring 20 and grabbing 19 rebounds in Game 3, and the Miami Heat won again despite of another quiet night from Dwyane Wade (6 points), whose right knee was bothering him again. He seemed to aggravate it on a fallaway jumper in the game but was in a able to return after getting re-taped.
”It’s frustrating at times but you just try to do what you can,” Wade said.
Norris Cole also struggled with 7 points after back-to-back 18-point performances, but the Miami Heat had more than enough in this one. They shot about 49 percent while the Bulls set a franchise playoff low at 25.7 percent. Chicago was very bad from the outside, going 2 for 17 from 3-point range.
The Chicago Bulls again were missing ailing Luol Deng and hurt Kirk Hinrich (calf), and a team that kept finding ways to win despite being short-handed all season simply seemed to run right out of steam, although coach Tom Thibodeau denied that idea.
”No,” he said. ”I believe the thing is they’re (Heat) a great team. We have to come out with great intensity – but we also have to make shots.”
There’s no denying the Chicago Bulls have been in a tough spot all year with Derrick Rose getting over knee surgery and just about every other player sidelined at some specific point. They’ve been hit particularly hard in the postseason, too.