Czar’s Playoff Preview: Heat vs. Bulls Game 5

The Bulls turned up the heat in Game 4, but Miami made out with the 101-93 overtime win at home on Tuesday. The spoils of war add up to a commanding 3-1 lead for the Heatles in the Eastern Conference Finals. Once again, limiting King James to a mere mortal’s game proved a tough assignment. LeBron kicked it into gear and closed out Game 4 with a 35-point finish, his biggest of this series.

Chris Bosh contributed another solid 22-point performance. And the Heat got an extra dozen-point, nine-board boost from Mike Miller off the bench, as well as nine points from Mario Chalmers. Dwyane Wade still hasn’t broken out yet. The Bulls have done a great job containing him so far, but he’s like a sleeping giant who could bust out at any moment.

Whether or not Wade plays at the top of his game tonight, MVP Derrick Rose has to figure out how he’s going to attack Miami’s defense in Game 5 if he wants to keep his team in title contention. And Coach Tom Thibadeau must devise a plan to get him away from LeBron, who put a blanket on Rose for Chicago’s two most critical shots down the stretch in Game 4. Carlos Boozer needs another big game. And the bench has to contribute more to give Chicago the edge in tonight’s elimination match.

Miami knows that Dallas is ready and waiting to meet the winner of this grueling series. Every day that they allow it to go on gives Dallas that much more of an advantage in terms of preparation time and rest. Erik Spoelstra and his team are just one win away from manifesting their three-star master plan to compete for an NBA Title. But unlike last night’s contest in which the Mavericks’ execution and experience enabled them to seal the deal, I think Chicago has a good chance to capture the W and send this series back to Miami for Game 6. The Central Division Champion Chicago Bulls will host the Southeast Division Champion Miami Heat tonight in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals at 8:30 PM ET on TNT.

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