The #1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs is a virtual lock now. The Chicago Bulls have a four game lead over the Miami Heat with seven games to play. So if the Big Three of Miami wants to claim their first title this season, they will need to win in Chicago most likely. Unless the Bulls get upset in an earlier round, they will be at home against the Heat in four of the seven games when the two meet assuring the Heat must win at least one road game in Chicago, something they were not able to do on Thursday despite a poor shooting night from Derrick Rose.
Carlos Boozer had 19 points and Kyle Korver added 17 in the Bulls cause to extend their lead to a virtual lock. C.J. Watson chipped in 16 points including a game tying three pointer at the end of regulation.
“This is one of the worst feelings in the regular season I’ve had this year,”Lebron James said.
“It hurts,” James said. “I think as a team we fought and played well. Gave our self a chance to win, but we gave up a 3 at the end to send it to overtime and they pretty much dominated the overtime.”
Lebron missed a free throw with 11.4 seconds left in regulation that could’ve given the Heat a four point lead and made Watson’s three pointer purely cosmetic. But it gave them new life and they capitalized on it in the OT. They outscored the Heat 12-2 in the extra five minutes.
Rose hit just 1 of 13 shots in the game, perhaps his worst as a pro. He sat out the OT period. “I’m not worried about my stats or anything,” Rose said. “Can I make up excuses? Yeah. But you know me, I’m not going to use no excuse. My shots weren’t falling. Shots I normally hit, I wasn’t hitting. My teammates had my back. I’m happy I have them on my team.”
“He’s going to be a little rusty,” Korver said. “I don’t care who you are, you’re going to be a little rusty.”
Dwayne Wade weighed in on C.J. Watson’s shot:
“I looked up and saw CJ wide open when Boozer caught it,” Wade said. “I didn’t know what was going on. I tried to get over there and make a play on it. He still made a tough shot. That play hurt. We never recovered back from that shot.”
With the Bulls practically locking down the #1 spot it looks like they will draw the loser for the seventh spot race between New York and Philadelphia. Miami will be looking at the winner. Neither should pose a problem for the top two seeds. But in the next round the Bulls would the 4 vs. 5 match up winner between Boston and Atlanta while the Heat would be looking at Indiana. Indiana could be a tough series.