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Miami Crushes Chicago for 3-1 Lead

Miami's stifling defense combined with an exhausted Bulls side contributed to a one-sided Game 4.

Miami’s stifling defense combined with an exhausted Bulls side contributed to a one-sided Game 4.

Behind a suffocating defensive performance, the Miami Heat moved to within one game of the Eastern Conference finals Monday, handing the Chicago Bulls an 88-65 defeat.

The Heat now holds a commanding 3-1 series lead while the patchwork Bulls are simply striving for survival.

Game 4 Recap

The Heat hardly put on an offensive master class Monday. They didn’t need to.

88 points – nearly 15 points lower than the side’s average this season – was more than enough to see-off a Chicago Bulls team that is hanging onto the series by a severed tendon.

Miami utilized a strong defensive performance to get the most of the struggling Bulls. Chicago finished just 19-74 (25.7%) from the floor, a franchise low for shooting in a postseason game.

The Heat jumped out to an 11-2 lead to start the game and never looked troubled after. The side outscored the Bulls in every quarter, including 17-9 in the third. Those nine points broke another Chicago postseason record, this time for fewest points in a quarter.

A noticeably tired looking Bulls side – again without Derrick Rose (knee), Kirk Hinrich (calf), and Luol Deng (sickness) – failed to find any rhythm, shooting bad shots and making errant passes. Nate Robinson – so often the accidental hero of these playoffs – was completely locked down by the defensive tandem of Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers, finishing the game with no points on 0-12 shooting.

Carlos Boozer paced the Bulls with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Jimmy Butler (12pts), Rip Hamilton (11pts), and Taj Gibson (10pts) scored in double digits, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

The Heat saw LeBron James score 27 whilst pulling down seven rebounds and handing out eight assists. Chris Bosh (14pts) was the only other player in double-figures for the Heat, but 11 players scored on the night. Chicago can’t even imagine what 11 players would look like at this time.

Dwyane Wade scored just six points on the evening, and came up crocked in the third quarter. He returned to action despite an uncomfortable knee. While Wade’s numbers have been down so far this season, at the moment the Heat are coping just fine without him. A rest may be in order come Game 5.

Miami beat Chicago 19-7 in fastbreak points, 29-8 in transition points, and 36-20 in the paint. The lopsided numbers are testament to what was a lopsided game.

LeBron James led the Miami Heat to a seventh straight up playoff win and a sixth win against the spread.

LeBron James led the Miami Heat to a seventh straight up playoff win and a sixth win against the spread.

Betting Results

The win marked Miami’s seventh double-digit victory of the postseason. Understandably, that makes the Heat a threat to cover the spread night in, night out.

Miami did indeed cover the spread (-8) in Game 4, marking the third straight game the side has done so. The Heat is now 6-2-0 ATS this postseason, including a 4-0-0 ATS marker when playing on the road.

With Monday’s loss, Chicago slips to 4-7-0 ATS during the playoffs. That includes a 1-4-0 ATS record when playing at the United Center, and a 1-3-0 ATS record in the current series with Miami.

With the Heat having covered the spread in 15 of the last 19 games (regular season and postseason), Chicago’s chances of covering in the future take yet another hit.

Game 4’s 153 combined points was well under the 185 predicted by Vegas. The Bulls and Heat had seen the total go over in the last two games. The four-game series has split the over and under evenly.

Chicago (7-4-0) continues to favor the over this postseason, while Miami (2-5-1) favors the under.

Looking Forward

The series now returns to South Florida for Game 5 on Wednesday (7:00 pm ET).

Needing to do the unthinkable and win three straight games, Chicago would do well not to recollect the 2011 Eastern Conference finals. The Bulls took a 1-0 lead in that series before Miami reeled off four straight victories.

Miami has won 26 of the last 29 games played at American Airlines Arena, dating back to the beginning of the calendar year. That record is enough to strike fear into any opponent.

But there may be life in the Bulls yet. Two of the three losses Miami suffered during that streak came at the hands of the Bulls, who snapped the Heat’s 27-game winning streak before stealing Game 1 of this series. A win on Wednesday would top both of those though.

Bookmakers have yet to release lines for Game 5. Be sure to check in with the BettingSports.com NBA odds page for the latest betting odds, and click here for further analysis of the game.



GAME 1: Chicago 93, Miami 86

GAME 2: Chicago 78, Miami 115

GAME 3: Miami 104, Chicago 94

GAME 4: Miami 88, Chicago 65

GAME 5: Chicago at Miami (Wed, May 15, 7:00 pm ET)

GAME 6: Miami at Chicago (Fri, May 16, TBD)*

GAME 7: Chicago at Miami (Sun, May 19, TBD)*

*If necessary

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