Playoff Box Score: Bulls Fall Again
By Benjy Lipsman in News on May 23, 2011 3:00PM
The Miami Heat took away the Bulls home court advantage in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals, and the Bulls were hoping to return the favor as the series shifted to South Beach. Instead, last night was a near carbon copy of game and the Bulls fell to the Heat 96-85. The Heat now lead the series 2-1.
The Bulls dug themselves into another early hole by missing a bunch of early shots. The Heat's defense made every basket seem like a monumental task. At the end of the first quarter, the Bulls were behind by three. The two teams played to 25-25 draws in both the second and third quarters, but once again the Bulls ran out of gas before the final buzzer sounded as they seemed to labor so much harder to score each point. Tied at 53 apiece in the third quarter, the Heat used an 13-4 burst to take a nine point lead. While the Bulls closed their deficit to three at the end of the third, Miami kept extending the lead. A 9-0 run halfway through the fourth gave Miami a 13-point margin. The Bulls tried to counter, but couldn't find the right combination of personnel to provide both the offense and defense needed to overcome the Heat. They never got any closer than seven down the stretch.
While the Bulls defense kept LeBron James and Dwyane Wade relatively in check, Chris Bosh had another monster game for the Heat. After missing his first three shots, he connected on 13 of 15 after and scored a game high 34. Carlos Boozer had a big game himself, leading the Bulls with 26 while his 17 rebounds were nearly double what any other player grabbed. Rose scored 20 for the Bulls, while Luol Deng added 14. With Boozer playing well, Taj Gibson didn't see as much action on previous games but added 11 points in 12 minutes. For Miami, James scored 22 while dishing out 10 assists and D-Wade added 17 points. The Bulls defense again allowed the Heat to shoot over 50 percent, while they barely shot 40 percent. The Bulls shot better from three-point range and had a 13-5 offensive rebound advantage that led to 10 more shots than the Heat, but fouls kept sending Miami to the line and they hit nine more free throws than the Bulls.
Miami remains a perfect 7-0 on their home court throughout the playoffs. The Bulls hope to end that streak on Tuesday, when they again square off at American Airlines Arena. As close to a must-win as the Bulls have faced this postseason, they hope to tie the series at two games apiece. Otherwise, they'll fall into a 3-1 hole that might be impossible to overcome. (Tuesday 7:30 p.m. TNT / ESPN 1000 AM)