CHICAGO (CBS) The Eastern Conference finals took a dramatic turn for the Chicago Bulls following a 21-point rout of the Miami Heat in Game 1. Over their next three games, the Bulls would struggle in the second half and found themselves coming up short to the Heat.
Now, faced with elimination, Chicago will have one more chance to keep their NBA Title hopes alive.
Here are the keys to a Bulls’ victory in Game 5:
Play Like There’s No Tomorrow
-The “play like there’s no tomorrow” motivation has been played out to the point of cliche. But for the Bulls in Game 5, it actually applies. Trailing three games to one, the odds of the Bulls making a comeback are slim, they get even tougher when you factor in the top-end talent on the Heat roster. When teams are faced with similar scenarios to the one facing the Bulls on Thursday night, they either become another team falling to the odds, or they play loose and aggressive and stay alive to force another game. The Bulls are a young team, and in their limited playoff history the previous two seasons, they’ve shown to have some fight in them. They’re going to need it to force at least one more road trip this season.
Clean Up The Offense
-The Bulls are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, and they also happen to have one of the most explosive offensive players in the league. For most of the season there’s been nothing wrong with that formula. However, over the last three games, it’s been frustrating to watch the Bulls try to ride that formula to success as they’ve managed to turn the ball over 40 times. Whether they’re forcing themselves into mistakes or it’s caused by Miami’s defense doesn’t really matter. What matters is that if the Bulls don’t want to end their season with a loss at home, they need to find consistent and effective offensive production.
-Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau won the NBA’s Coach of the Year Award. Miami’s Erik Spoelstra was never given any credit for his team’s success, instead it went to the Big 3 and Pat Reilly. But through the first four games of the Eastern Conference finals, it’s safe to say that Spoelstra has out-coached Thibodeau. Thibodeau had a wrench thrown into his substitution pattern when center Omer Asik suffered a broken fibula. For the Bulls to knock off the Heat in Game 5, ‘Coach Thibs’ will have to make adjustment to his rotation and to his gameplan. If the Bulls stick to what they’ve tried the last three games, the next time Thibodeau has a chance to make gameplan adjustments could be next season.