We were all watching Tuesday night from the final possession of regulation through the end of the game, as one opportunity after another slipped away from our Chicago Bulls. A chance to tie the series and head home for the rubber match, Rose and co. could do nothing more than slink away in a 3-1 hole.
With Game 5 tonight, I decided to reach out to Bulls beat writer Christopher Cason and get his take on Game 4 for Lists That Actually Matter. Chris covers the Bulls live from the United Center, and has spent the past two seasons up close and personal with the team. He loves talking Bulls, so hit him on Twitter @C4DUNK. Chris, take it away!
Even with the blowout in Game 1, the Miami
Heat have made the Bulls pay for every mistake. Chicago turned
the ball over 22 times in Game 4 which led to 26 Heat points.
As much energy as he exerted in the first and semifinals
rounds, Derrick Rose has had to work twice as hard for his baskets against
Miami, often seeing more of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James than Mike Bibby
and Mario Chalmers. The Heat have also managed to contain the angles at which
he’s used to getting to the rim, regularly forming a three-man wall around
Rose once he gets past the initial defender. With the constant double teaming
on the high screen and rolls and the different looks he’s seeing, the
22-year-old MVP might be a bit fatigued, although you wouldn’t be able to tell
from his two monster dunks in the second quarter of Game 4.
James’s defense on Rose in the fourth quarter of Game 4 was
superb, especially on Rose’s two field goal attempts that could have won the
game in regulation. Rose was scoreless in the overtime period going
0-2 – Wade blocked both shots – and committed a crucial turnover with the
Bulls down 95-89 at the 1:05 mark that led to a Wade layup and ended all hopes
In their three wins, Miami has outscored Chicago a total of 80-55
in fourth quarter and overtime.
As good as Chicago’s defense has been this season and during
this postseason, they haven”t faced anything like the consistent pressure
the Heat bring with Wade, James, or Chris Bosh touching the ball on every possession.
Chicago has had its chances to close the game in each of Miami’s three wins, but the Heat have simply outexecuted them, a rarity this season from a Bulls opponent. Rose missed a free throw and two field
goals in the fourth quarter of Game 4 that could have won his team the game.
Every star has to go through a period of postseason
hardships to claim the ultimate prize, the Larry O’Brien trophy. James had
his with the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics, Dirk Nowitzki has been dealing
with the pressure since the Mavericks lost their final four games after against Wade’s Miami Heat in 2006, and the Heat definitely look
like they will play that villain role for Rose in the coming years if he is to
bring Chicago their seventh championship banner.