The Miami Heat protected their turf in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Chris Bosh scored 34 points to lead his team past Chicago 96-85. The Bulls haven’t suffered consecutive losses since early February. They must win Game 4 on the road tonight in order to reclaim home court advantage and salvage a legitimate shot at advancing to the NBA Championship.
It will be interesting to see whether Chicago changes up its defense in order to shut down Bosh and prevent him from having another huge game. However, in doing so they risk the possibility of allowing LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade to put up big numbers. Head Coach Tom Thibodeau will have to decide whether to implement a new strategy or to play the same way in order to contain James and Wade (who were held to 22 and 17 points respectively) while doing a better individual job on Bosh.
On the offensive end of the court, Chicago needs to figure out a way to score more points against Miami’s outstanding defense. Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer both produced in the last game, combining for 46 total. But a third starter needs to step up and give the Bulls a boost. Ball movement and bench productivity will also be critical to their success.
The Heat see the opportunity in front of them to end the Eastern Conference Finals in five games and will be anxious to seize the pivotal Game 4 in front of their enthusiastic fans. This is a veteran Miami team that will try to take advantage of the younger Chicago squad’s relative lack of experience in order to take control of their series like Dallas was able to do last night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.