By Laurence W. Holmes–
CHICAGO (WSCR) Miami won Game 3 just like they won Game 2: with fantastic defense. Their on the ball pressure was excellent. They rotated very well and contested most of the Bulls shots. The Heat jumped into passing lanes and made the Bulls pay for their turnovers. Joel Anthony set the tone early in the post with five blocks. Miami was relentless. In this series, they’ve made Derrick Rose look human. Rose was negated as a facilitator and didn’t have a great shooting night (8-of-19). Carlos Boozer played well offensively (26 points, 17 rebounds), but his value was neutralized because he was so horrible defensively.
As a team, the Bulls looked uncharacteristically undisciplined. Bulls defenders continuously bit on shot fakes, got up in the air and either gave up layups or fouled the shooter. Omer Asik was the worst offender, but he wasn’t alone. Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah were all guilty of this defensive sin. Chris Bosh actually played better in this game than he did in Game 1 (30 pts, 9 reb). He had 34 points and hit 13 of his last 15 shots. The Bulls never had an answer for him. He took Bulls post defenders inside and outside. LeBron James was brilliant. He scored when he had to, but his passing was decisive and crisp, leading to 10 assists.
The Bulls never really had a sustained run and their defense couldn’t clamp down on Miami. The Heat shooting 51 percent from the floor is unacceptable. It’s been a bad recipe for the Bulls in the last two games. There are a lot of corrections that need to be made between now and Tuesday. That Game 1 blowout seems a long way away doesn’t it?
-Joakim Noah can expect a fine from the NBA for getting caught on camera saying the same slur that Kobe Bryant got fined $100,000 for. David Stern used Kobe as an example. Noah could get hit harder because it was on a bigger stage and the precedent has already been set.
-Over the last few years, TNT broadcasts have been the best for live sporting events, but their coverage of the Eastern Conference finals has been atrocious. Their studio show has been cluttered, sloppy and uninformative. Every night the audience is treated to Charles Barkley misidentifying players and it’s not cute anymore. His analysis hasn’t been sharp since he foolishly jumped into the college arena back in March. Doing the pre-game in front of a live crowd is distracting. They aren’t as adept to it as College Gameday, so why try? The usual playfulness of their crew comes off as the team being unprepared. The analysis has been at a minimum and hasn’t lived up to the standard of quality that we usually see from this group.
As for the play-by-play team, Marv Albert has seemed lost for the entire series. He misses plays, gets calls wrong and seems like he isn’t paying attention. Reggie Miller and Steve Kerr are pretty good, but they spend a lot of time making up for calls that Marv has missed. It’s been a frustrating watch.
-I don’t know if the lockout has anything to do with Garrett Wolfe’s arrest in Miami, but I can’t tell you not to ask the question.
-There’s good news and bad news about the Sox: The good news is that they have not lost a series in their last six (5-0-1). They’ve won 11 of their last 15. The bad news is, even with this solid push, they haven’t really gained any ground. They’re still nine games back. You dig a deep enough hole and it will take you a long time to climb out.
-The question now with the Cubs isn’t how many games they’ll win, but how many healthy bodies will they have?
I’ll have more Bulls breakdown starting tonight at 6:00 p.m. on The Score. Follow me on Twitter @lholmes670.