Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau talks about Derrick Rose and the Bulls needs in the offseason.
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* The Bulls are 0-7 all-time in best-of-seven series when they trail 1-3, forcing a Game 6 in just two of those seven series (2006-07 vs. Detroit and 2011-12 vs. Philadelphia). The Heat, meanwhile, are 7-0 all-time in best-of-seven series when leading 3-1, and have closed six of those seven series out in Game 5.
* Chicago set franchise playoff records for fewest points in a game (65), fewest points in any quarter (9 in 3rd qtr) and lowest field-goal percentage (.257) in a game in its Game 4 loss to the Heat.
* With one more victory in this series, the Heat will return to the Eastern Conference Finals for a third straight season. The last team to appear in there straight ECF was the Detroit Pistons, who did so in six straight years (2002-03 to 2007-08).
* When Nate Robinson was held scoreless on 0-for-12 shooting in Game 4, he became the first person in the shot clock era to have zero points in any playoff game when having more than 10 field-goal attempts.
* In his last six potential series-clinching games, LeBron James has averaged 28.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.7 assists. The Heat went 5-1 in those contests.
* Dwyane Wade is a game-time decision for Game 5, as he continues to struggle with a sore right knee. Wade is averaging 11.3 points and 4.5 assists per game in this series.
Back in mid-January, following yet another desultory home loss to the Suns, Tom Thibodeau crinkled up his face and offered a quote for the ages about readiness to play.
“If they say we’re playing at midnight on the roof, you should be saying let’s get the ladders.”
As the Bulls trudged off the United Center floor for possibly the last time this season late Monday, 88-65 losers to the Heat, they could’ve added lifeline to ladders on their checklist of things to pack for Miami.
A season filled with pluck and grit gave way to a night of record-setting offensive ineptitude, with a three-game win streak against the defending NBA champions the only possible remedy. The Bulls never have won a playoff series in which they trailed 3-1.
They also never had scored so few points or shot so poorly in franchise playoff history. Their 25.7 percent shooting shattered the previous lowlight of 31.1 percent in the Game 7 Eastern Conference finals loss at Detroit on June 3, 1990. Their previous low of 69 points also came at Detroit in a second-round series on May 5, 2007.
* Miami took a 2-1 series lead with Friday’s 104-94 Game 3 win in Chicago. It was the Heat’s eighth straight road win going back to a March 27 loss in Chicago – the loss that ended the team’s 27-game win streak. Three of the wins in the current road streak have come in the postseason; the club record for consecutive road wins in a single postseason is five in 2005.
* The Heat are 51-2 this season when scoring 100 or more points, including wins in 42 straight (four in postseason). The 42-game streak is tied for second longest in NBA history (Bulls, 45 straight from March 2011 to January 2013).
* The Bulls have a 1-12 series record all-time in best-of-7 series when trailing 2-1, winning only in the 1993 Eastern Conference finals versus the Knicks (won in six games). Chicago has won Game 4 in eight of those 13 series, however.
* Joakim Noah turned in his NBA-high sixth double-double of the postseason with 15 points and 11 rebounds in Game 3. Noah has also blocked 25 shots in the playoffs, ranking second to the Thunder’s Serge Ibaka (27).
* Norris Cole has scored 18 points off the bench in each of Miami’s last two games, making a combined 13-of-16 from the field (.813) and 7-of-7 from three-point range. Cole hadn’t scored more than 16 points in any previous game this season.
* LeBron James has registered at least 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists in 80 of his 122 career postseason games. No other active player has more than 66 playoff games hitting those minimums (Kobe Bryant).
Bulls forward updates status as he continues to recover from side effects of spinal tap
* Miami’s 37-point (115-78) victory over Chicago in Game 2 on Wednesday was both the largest margin of victory in a postseason game in Heat franchise history and the largest margin of defeat in a playoff game in Bulls’ franchise history.
* Chicago is 14-5 all-time, including 7-3 at home, in Game 3s when tied 1-1 in a best-of-seven series. Miami, meanwhile, is 8-2 all-time, including 4-2 on the road, in Game 3s in this situation.
* In NBA history 18 teams have lost a non-elimination postseason game by at least 37 points. Those teams then went 7-11 in their next game.
* The six player technical fouls called on the Bulls in Game 2 (Noah – 2, Gibson – 2, Robinson – 1 and Teague – 1) are the most handed out to players on one team in a postseason game since the Celtics’ players got called for six against the Pacers on May 7, 2005.
* Miami shot exactly 60 percent from the field in Game 2. It was just the second time in franchise history the Heat have shot 60+ percent in a postseason game; the other time was in Game 5 of their 2012 Eastern Conference semi-final series against the Pacers (.614).
* Ray Allen led the Heat in scoring in Game 2, coming off the bench to pour in 21 points, including going 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. It was the third time in his postseason career that Allen has been perfect from the free-throw line in a game (minimum 10 FTAs), the other two times coming during the 2005 playoffs.
* LeBron James has averaged 29.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 7.2 assists in five career road playoff games against the Bulls, shooting 51.0 percent (including 16-for-32 from behind the arc) in these contests. His team has gone 3-2 in those games.
MIAMI — Twelve seconds into the Heat’s 115-78 victory over the Bulls, Udonis Haslem delivered a foul that sent Nate Robinson back to his college football days and down hard to the American Airlines Arena court.
The Bulls knew right after their stunning Game 1 victory that the Heat would produce a more impassioned effort on Wednesday night. Nine technical fouls, two ejections, one flagrant foul and 19 LeBron James’ points later, they got their answer.
The Bulls lost a game and their composure, suffering the largest margin of defeat in franchise playoff history and having Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson ejected by official Scott Foster in a flurry of technicals at the 10 minute, 12 second mark of the fourth quarter.
This was no day at South Beach. In fact, about all this one lacked was Thibodeau joining one of the many scrums to latch onto James’ leg, a la when mentor Jeff Van Gundy did the same to Alonzo Mourning during a Knicks-Heat series in 1998.
Gibson, who didn’t leave the court in a timely fashion and continued to hurl profanity at Foster, has a chance of getting suspended for Friday’s Game 3 — and certainly fined. And this is with the Bulls expected to be without Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose as well.
The venom is officially flowing.
The Bulls’ previous worst loss in franchise playoff history was 26 points.
James tallied 19 points, nine assists and five rebounds in just 32 minutes, setting the tone with a dominant first half. Ray Allen led the Heat with 21 points.
James was James, making his first six shots on all layups or dunks and, as expected, switching at times onto Robinson, who was scoreless in the first quarter.
Nine seconds after Haslem opened the proceedings with his hard foul on Robinson, Wade drew a technical for throwing the ball at Marco Belinelli when Belinelli wrapped him up on a fast break. Later in the first, Noah and James traded elbows and technicals.
Early in the second, Chris Andersen delivered a flagrant-one on Belinelli. Even rookie Marquis Teague got in the act, drawing a technical for shoving Norris Cole. When Daequan Cook wrapped up James on a breakaway, Andersen sprinted into the ensuing scrum and knocked some bodies around.
Robinson even drew a technical when the teams were entering a timeout. Meanwhile, in actual game action, Cole sank back-to-back 3-pointers as the Heat closed the first half with a 13-3 run that later extended to 32-9.
Cook — gulp — guarded James in stretches because Jimmy Butler exited for the first time in 160 minutes, 41 seconds with foul trouble.
In the third, Mario Chalmers drew a technical that could merit league discipline — fine or suspension — because he grabbed Noah around the neck. And the Heat was on to the tune of a 30-15 quarter advantage.
You can place Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich in sharp-looking suits on the bench. You can keep Luol Deng in Chicago as he recovers from a spinal tap.
Carlos Boozer can be largely ineffective, Nate Robinson can leave briefly with a bloody lip that needed stitches to close and Marco Belinelli’s jumper can be AWOL.
But as long as the Bulls have five bodies left, the competitive culture that Tom Thibodeau has instilled and his players execute will lead to what happened Monday night at American Airlines Arena.
The Bulls grabbed Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals, downing a Heat team that had won 41 of its previous 43 games 93-86. And they shouted to the mountaintops one more time for anyone who stopped listening: They’re not going away quietly.
Miami vs. Chicago
Game 1 – Mon May 6 Chicago at Miami 6:00PM TNT
Game 2 – Wed May 8 Chicago at Miami 6:00PM TNT
Game 3 – Fri May 10 Miami at Chicago 7:00PM ESPN
Game 4 – Mon May 13 Miami at Chicago 6:00PM TNT
Game 5 * Wed May 15 Chicago at Miami TBD TNT
Game 6 * Fri May 17 Miami at Chicago TBD ESPN
Game 7 * Sun May 19 Chicago at Miami TBD TNT
* The Bulls have never won a decisive Game 7 on the road (0-6). The Nets, meanwhile, have played just one Game 7 in franchise history, losing on the road to Detroit in the 2003-04 Eastern Conference semi-finals.
* Chicago has averaged just 90.0 points per game on the road in this postseason, despite shooting 48.2 percent. The problem has been from behind the arc; while the Bulls have made 51.5 percent of their two-point attempts in these three contests, they are just 9-for-32 (.281) from three-point range.
* The Nets are averaging 14.0 fast break points per game in this series. They averaged just 9.0 fast break ppg during the regular season, which was next to last in the NBA (Knicks – 8.8).
* Joakim Noah had 14 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and five blocked shots in the Game 6. Prior to Noah, the last player to have a 14+/15+/5+/5+ game in the postseason was Elton Brand, who had 33 points, 15 boards, five assists and five blocks for the Clippers against the Suns, May 16, 2006.
* Joe Johnson has averaged 17.0 points on 38.0 percent shooting (55.6% from three-point range) in three career Game 7s. His last Game 7 appearance was in the Hawks’ first-round series against Milwaukee in 2009-10.
* Andray Blatche has 16 points and eight rebounds in the second half of Games 5 and 6. He had 22 points and nine rebounds in the second half of Games 1-4.