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Heat go for key 3-1 lead

May 24, 2011
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

MIAMI (AP) - All the Chicago Bulls say they need to do now is something they've already managed 71 times this season, more than any other team in the league.

Win a game.

It's that simple. No need for cluttered thinking now. Even after everything that has gone wrong in the last two games of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat - who have handed the Bulls their first two-game losing streak since February - Chicago knows it can reclaim the upper hand in the series by winning Game 4 in Miami Tuesday night.

Thing is, the Heat know that sort of thinking as well, since they had the same thoughts after a Game 1 blowout loss in Chicago.

"All we've done to this point is do exactly what they did at home," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Monday as practice wound down. "They won the first game at home and we have to find a way in a possession game to come out ahead again tomorrow night. There is not going to be one easy possession in this series."

Chicago can attest to that.

Defense was clearly going to be the norm in this series, with the Bulls and Heat ranking 1-2 in field-goal percentage defense. Chicago has managed 160 points in Games 2 and 3, its lowest two-game total of the season, and keying on reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose has been the biggest - and most obvious - key. Rose is 15-for-42 from the floor in Chicago's last two losses.

In short, the Bulls are desperate.

"We're playing desperate too," LeBron James said. "Both teams are playing hard. We're just as desperate as they are to win another game at home."

The Heat remain the only unbeaten team at home in these playoffs, having won all seven tries so far.

If that holds on Tuesday, they'll be one win away from the NBA finals, and while it may be tempting to look ahead, James says Miami cannot afford that luxury.



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