|Eastern Conference - Semifinals - Best of 7 - Game 4 - MIA Leads 2-1|
|Last 5 Games||4-1||-6.5||4-1||2-2||99.4||47.4||49.5%||49.0||86.6||43.8||41.4%||46.6|
|Team Stats (All Games)||102.7||51.3||38-77||49.6%||9-22||39.3%||18-23||75.4%||47||8||23||19||9||13||5|
|vs opponents surrendering||98||49.2||37-82||45.3%||7-20||35.7%||17-22||75.1%||51||11||22||20||8||14||5|
|Team Stats (Road Games)||99.3||49.4||37-77||48.4%||9-23||38.3%||16-22||73.0%||47||9||23||19||8||14||5|
|Stats Against (All Games)||94.3||48.4||35-80||43.9%||8-22||34.6%||16-21||75.9%||48||11||20||21||8||15||3|
|vs opponents averaging||97||48.9||37-82||44.7%||7-20||35.5%||16-22||75.0%||50||11||22||20||8||14||5|
|Stats Against (Road Games)||93.9||48.2||35-81||43.4%||7-21||35.1%||16-21||76.3%||50||12||22||20||8||15||4|
|Last 5 Games||2-3||+5.6||2-3||4-1||91.2||48.6||42.8%||49.2||98.6||49.6||46.2%||49.2|
|Team Stats (All Games)||93.3||46.9||36-82||43.9%||5-16||35.0%||16-21||76.6%||52||12||23||20||7||14||5|
|vs opponents surrendering||97.6||49.2||37-82||45.3%||7-20||35.7%||17-22||75.0%||50||11||22||20||8||14||5|
|Team Stats (Home Games)||93.7||46.7||36-82||43.4%||6-15||36.6%||17-22||76.0%||53||13||23||20||7||14||6|
|Stats Against (All Games)||93.7||46.3||36-80||44.4%||6-16||34.5%||17-23||74.2%||50||11||19||20||7||13||6|
|vs opponents averaging||97.7||49.3||37-82||45.2%||7-20||35.8%||17-22||74.9%||50||11||22||20||8||14||5|
|Stats Against (Home Games)||91.9||46.1||35-81||43.3%||5-16||33.9%||17-22||75.2%||50||11||19||20||7||13||6|
|Average power rating of opponents played: MIAMI 95.1, CHICAGO 94.9|
|5/13/2013||@ CHICAGO|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|5/15/2013||CHICAGO|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|5/13/2013||MIAMI|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|5/15/2013||@ MIAMI|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|MIAMI: GUARDS: The regular season goal for DWYANE WADE is to just stay healthy. Even following knee surgery, he's still good enough to pile up numbers, but the minutes won't be there in the regular season . . . That's why the Heat brought in RAY ALLEN. He and Wade will share the floor at times, but Allen should primarily play off the bench. His role will be to knock down the wide-open threes Wade and LeBron James create . . . After all the big plays he made in the postseason, MARIO CHALMERS is entrenched as the starting point guard, despite being plagued by a bad hammy in the preseason . . . Super-quick NORRIS COLE looks like he'll become one of the NBA's better backup point guards . . . If he doesn't retire, the absurdly brittle MIKE MILLER will see limited regular-season minutes . . . TERREL HARRIS will likely make the team because he's willing to play defense. FORWARDS: While another title is their No. 1 priority, LeBRON JAMES has shown no need to rest during the regular season. He'll play full-time minutes and be in the thick of the MVP race . . . CHRIS BOSH remains integral to the offense with his ability to pull opposing bigs away from the basket. His stats don't reflect his actual value . . . SHANE BATTIER will continue to be a defensive specialist whose offensive role is limited to shooting open threes . . . UDONIS HASLEM is another guy who will get held back in the regular season. He should lead their low-post rotation . . . RASHARD LEWIS' knee problems have robbed him of athleticism . . . But Lewis should beat out fellow shooter JAMES JONES for a rotation spot . . . JARVIS VARNADO is a shot-blocking force with little to no offensive game. CENTERS: JOEL ANTHONY will continue to tag-team with Haslem in the middle. Anthony is an absolute negative on the offensive end, but he brings more size and shot-blocking than Haslem . . . DEXTER PITTMAN will be battling for a roster spot. Sexy Dexy has shown no signs of being an NBA-caliber player so far in his career . . . MICKELL GLADNESS is a better alternative than Pittman on both ends of the floor.|
|CHICAGO: GUARDS: The best guess on DERRICK ROSE is a February return. But an ACL injury usually isn't 100 percent until the second full year back . . . With Rose out, KIRK HINRICH figures to play heavy minutes early. He's a defensive specialist who will pass and watch on offense . . . NATE ROBINSON could push Hinrich for minutes. He's the offensive half of that platoon, but Thibodeau almost always leans defense . . . RICHARD HAMILTON will carry a bigger offensive load while Rose is recovering. He's a shadow of his former self . . . MARCO BELINELLI is a nice addition. He's solid defensively, and he brings the long-range shooting Chicago lacks. Don't be surprised if he pushes Hamilton . . . Rookie MARQUIS TEAGUE will mostly sit and watch this year. FORWARDS: After avoiding wrist surgery, LUOL DENG should be Chicago's top scorer while Rose is out. He's the only one on this team who even has a chance to generate his own offense . . . CARLOS BOOZER continues to be a major disappointment. In the past it's been his atrocious defense, but now he's taken a step back offensively as well. He may score more with Rose out, but he'll continue to sit late in close games . . . TAJ GIBSON should be in for a bigger role. With Omer Asik gone, he's one of only two defensively capable bigs on this roster . . . VLADIMIR RADMANOVIC will try to replace some of the three-point shooting they lost when Kyle Korver left . . . JIMMY BUTLER has a puncher's chance at a rotation spot after a good summer. CENTERS: JOAKIM NOAH was still working his way back from that badly sprained ankle this summer. His durability is questionable, but the Bulls will have to lean on Noah for more minutes now that Omer Asik is gone . . . NAZR MOHAMMED steps into Asik's role as Noah's backup. But while Asik was an active defender, Mohammed is more of just a big body with six fouls to give.|
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER NBA PLAYOFF PREVIEW (MIAMI-CHICAGO) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
(Updates with quotes, details. With AP Photos.)
*Heat-Bulls Preview* ====================
By ANDREW SELIGMAN AP Sports Writer
Miami At Chicago, Game Four, 7:00 p.m. EDT
CHICAGO (AP) -- The suggestion that he's a flopper drew a grin as wide as his wingspan from LeBron James.
Miami's superstar shot down the accusations from the Chicago Bulls, saying they reminded him of the days when some claimed he was overrated and questioned his ability to lead a team to a championship.
"It's kind of the same (as when) I heard people say I was overrated," he said Sunday. "It's kind of like the same response."
The Heat are trying to repeat as champions after a dominant regular season, and if they keep this up, they won't have to worry about Chicago much longer. Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals is Monday, and Miami has a chance to take a 3-1 lead in a series with no shortage of hard fouls, technicals, ejections and fines. One thing in short supply is healthy bodies for the Bulls, with Luol Deng still recovering from a spinal tap and Kirk Hinrich from a bruised left calf. The odds that either would play seemed slim at best on Sunday.
Meanwhile, coach Tom Thibodeau's wallet is a little lighter after the league smacked him with a $35,000 fine on Sunday.
That hit came after he accused James of flopping on that shove to the floor and questioned the officiating after the Heat took Game 3, saying the Bulls weren't going to get the benefit of the calls. Thibodeau had already addressed the media by the time the punishment was announced and declined comment through a team spokesman.
Yet there was still plenty of talk about that incident between James and Mohammed.
"None of this is new to us," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Nobody can hide from the fact that the games will be decided between those four lines. And our guys understand that."
The Bulls' Taj Gibson expects more of the same.
"Both teams are tough and aggressive," he said. "It's playoff basketball. We're both rivals. They acknowledged it. We acknowledged it. It's just guys going after it playing like they don't like each other. But it's just playoff basketball."
In Game 3, Joakim Noah had already shoved Miami's Chris Andersen after he landed on a driving Nate Robinson late in the first quarter, and things nearly boiled over early in the second.
With James dribbling near midcourt, Mohammed reached in to take a foul and stop a potential break. Their arms got tangled. Mohammed fell, and when he got up, he gave James a hard shove to the court.
Both players picked up technicals. Mohammed got tossed, making him the third Bulls player to get ejected in the series along with Noah and Taj Gibson.
"I don't need to flop," James said. "I play an aggressive game. I don't flop. I've never been one of those guys."
It's probably worth noting that James accused the Bulls of crossing the line a few times back in late March, when they beat Miami at the United Center to snap Miami's 27-game win streak.
"What I said is what I said, but I don't want to get involved too much with what everybody else says about us, about me," he said. "It's nothing I haven't heard before in my career. It's nothing. ... I'm here to play basketball and do whatever it takes for our team to win. So what a coach and players say to me and about me, I don't really care."
Both teams have concerns that stretch beyond the officiating.
For the Bulls, it remains their health. Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of Derrick Rose's surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and the only suiting up he's done for a game since then has involved a jacket and tie.
Just about every other key player has missed time at some point, and that's continued into the postseason.
Deng has missed five straight games, Hinrich has sat out six in a row, and both looked like longshots at best to play in Game 4 with Thibodeau saying they're day to day.
Hinrich did little other than some shooting and ride a bike, and Deng couldn't do much, either.
"My body, my system, is not reacting well to anything I'm doing right now," Deng said.
He said he's feeling a little better and has regained two of the 15 pounds he lost because of the illness, but when he tries to exert himself, well, he really can't.
Deng said he tried to work out individually on Saturday and wound up vomiting. He attempted to practice on Sunday and became ill during warmups, forcing him to stop.
"I spoke to coach a little bit, If I could give 5 or 10 minutes, give these guys a little bit of a break but I can't even get through a regular warmup," Deng said.
The Heat, meanwhile, continue to face questions about Dwyane Wade and his sore right knee. He took just seven shots and scored 10 points in Game 3, but he insisted that had more to do with the flow of the game and the Bulls packing the lane than his health.
"A lot of my opportunities were not in the flow of the offense," he said. "If I would have shot a lot, it would have been forced. When I had the ball, I tried to make the best play. Sometimes, it's to get two guys on me and pass it."
|Last Updated: 12/21/2014 5:57:21 AM EST|