One of the quotes flying around the web about the series is that the Chicago Bulls haven't lost three games in a row all season. As such, expect them to come out and win on Tuesday. That might be fair.
In fact, I feel these games with Miami are largely coin flip type affairs that could go either way. However, here's the thing about flipping a coin. While it's most likely if you flip three times you won't get heads three times, once you have heads twice, it's still 50/50 on the next flip.
The past flips don't influence the future flip.
The Bulls also haven't played three coin flip games in a row frequently
How many times this season have the Bulls played three games in a row against teams that were really their peer? There were only a few teams in the league that live up to that status.
You could maybe argue twice.
@Spurs, @Mavs, @Lakers (LWL)
@Atlanta, @Orlando, @Miami (LWW)
So while the Bulls have generally gotten their stuff together over any three game stretch, there's typically always been a patsy in there to do it against as well.
However, after three games, the closest the teams can be is 2-1
The Bulls are on the brink, much like Miami was on the brink when they went down 0-1, because if they lose the next game, the series is all but over.
However, if the Bulls win the next game, the series is all knotted up and Chicago now has home court in a best of three series. LIke Miami, Chicago only needs to split it's games on the road. Like Miami, they would have preferred to win the first one, but if they can win the second it will all be okay.
Can the Bulls come out and win in game four?
Yes they can. Both of the past two games were fairly close. Miami had a couple spurts the Bulls didn't have to maintain their lead. A couple loose balls that didn't go Chicago's way. A couple bad calls at a point where Chicago was gaining momentum that could have swung things.
The Bulls are still right there with the Heat. This isn't a case where Chicago is simply done and can't stand up to Miami. Miami may go on to win this thing in five, but Chicago could just as easily win the next to games as well.
What can Chicago change to get back in this series?
I noted a few things in the post game thread:
1: Chicago must figure out a way to defend LeBron/Wade without leaving the 14 foot jumper for the pick setter open. Maybe they decide to keep ceding this jumper to Miami, but Miami has knocked it down all series, so that doesn't seem like the right plan.
2: Chicago can't play Kyle Korver if both Wade and LeBron are on the floor, they can close out too fast for him to get good shots, and they kill him on defense. Play him strictly when one of them is resting.
In addition to that...
More Boozer/Rose pick and roll
The Bulls were getting great looks out of the Boozer/Rose pick and roll, but they didn't run it enough. Carlos Boozer also has to feel comfortable shooting that open 14 footer immediately without pump faking or hesitating.
If he does, and can knock it down, he'll get plenty of wide open opportunities and can repeat his game three performance. Boozer off the pick and roll was very effective. Boozer in the low post was very ineffective.
A little more luck converting the offensive boards into points
The Bulls had a ton of offensive rebounds again, like they have all series, but they haven't found a way to convert them into points the past couple games. Lots of tips that rimmed out, lots of times they went up immediately and were blocked or rushed the shot and missed.
In game one, when the Bulls dominated the offensive glass and turned 19 offensive boards into 31 points, they kicked out a lot of those offensive rebounds and turned them into open three point looks.
I'm generally a fan of going up strong immediately after the offensive board as you're highly likely to draw the foul or score, and frequently with a tip you have little choice, but when the Bulls do come down with the ball and are in a crowd, they may need to look at kicking the ball back out occasionally as well.
I felt good about game three going into it, but the Bulls lost. Leaving game three, I still think the Bulls have plenty of good basketball in the tank left that hasn't gotten onto the floor. They played well enough to win in most phases, but their philosophy of ultra trapping James/Wade and giving Bosh whatever he wanted bit them in the ass and lost them the game.
Can Chicago come through with the right defensive adjustments to win game four? Can they get a bit luckier on the offensive put backs? HIt a few more threes? Just get the couple extra plays that put them over the top?
Yes, they can. However, it doesn't mean they will. The Bulls are on the brink, the Heat have some cushion, let's see who takes care of business tomorrow.