Can the Bulls recover from a 2-1 deficit in East finals?

May 24, 2011

Yes … and no

K.C. Johnson

Chicago Tribune

I predicted the Bulls to win these Eastern Conference finals in seven games with the caveat the Heat might win in six. How's that for strong prognostication?

The Bulls haven't lost three straight all season, so this series isn't as over. The Heat's defense has done a better-than-expected job of getting the ball out of Derrick Rose's hands and limiting his fourth-quarter impact. Expect that to change in Tuesday's Game 4. And when it does, the Bulls will reclaim homecourt advantage with a victory.

After that, it's a best-of-three, which means the Bulls will win in seven. Unless the Heat win in six. More seriously, though, the Bulls' defense hasn't smothered the Heat like it has most teams. And the Bulls' offense has looked lethargic.

Someone, perhaps Luol Deng or Kyle Korver, needs to start hitting jumpers to space the floor for my original prediction to be accurate.

kcjohnson@tribune.com

If Rose, Thibs step up

Ira Winderman

Sun Sentinel

Can they? Sure. Let's not forget this is the team that finished with the NBA's best regular-season record.

Will they? Not until Derrick Rose starts playing again like the MVP and Tom Thibodeau starts coaching again like the Coach of the Year.

This has been as much about scheme as skill for the Heat. Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers are not gifted enough defensively to stop Rose, but the Heat scheme has been. This is where Rose and Thibodeau have to get better.

Let's face it, the Bulls hardly were overwhelming in their first two series. For as flawed as many have viewed the Heat's lack of depth, the lack of scoring offered by the Bulls has been telling, simply not enough creativity.

Unless Rose and Thibodeau change things up, their only hardware will come from individual, regular-season awards.

iwinderman@tribune.com

Heat too talented

Josh Robbins

Orlando Sentinel

Sure, the Bulls can recover from their 2-1 deficit against the Heat. A win Tuesday would change the complexion of the series immediately and give the Bulls homecourt advantage.

There are reasons the Heat lead.

The Heat are a superb defensive team, and the Bulls simply don't have consistent perimeter scoring threats to complement Derrick Rose. That enables the Heat to defend Rose more easily.

And as the Bulls are learning, the Heat have more than two dangerous scoring options. In Game 3, they slowed LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, holding the duo to 12-of-30 shooting combined. But in the NBA, you can't take away something without leaving scoring opportunities somewhere else. Chris Bosh took advantage of that, scoring 34 points.

Game 4 is the key game now. In crucial games, the team with more experience has the edge. The Heat have it.

jbrobbins@tribune.com

History favors Heat

Lisa Dillman

Los Angeles Times

It seemed so simple.

The first impulse was to forge ahead and stick with the recent Bulls' prediction, and say, yes, of course they can recover from a 2-1 series deficit.

Then came a blinding flash of light, of inspiration this morning. OK, then, a website. It convinced me to change my mind. Whowins.com put it out there in stark fashion: Chicago, when trailing 2-1 in a best-of-seven-game series, holds a 1-10 overall series record and, worse yet, is on a current five-series losing run in that position.

The Heat, for the record, are 5-3 when leading 2-1 in a best-of-seven-game series.

Class, adjourned.

ldillman@tribune.com

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