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Down 3-1 in series with Heat, Bulls left gasping for it

2013-05-13T22:00:00Z 2013-05-14T18:21:05Z Down 3-1 in series with Heat, Bulls left gasping for itAl Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
May 13, 2013 10:00 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Dumb basketball doesn't produce wins, only critics, and the shorthanded Bulls have had their share against the Heat.

Taj Gibson was fined $25,000 after Game 2 for cursing at officials.

Coach Tom Thibodeau was fined $35,000 for criticizing officials after Game 3.

See a trend developing here?

While red placards urging “Next Man Up” were waved by the United Center sellout of 21,990 Monday night, the woefully fatigued Bulls were no match for the Heat, who hardly broke a sweat in winning 88-65.

Chicago trails the series 3-1 with Game 5 on Wednesday in Miami.

The Bulls set team playoff records for all-time lows with their nine points in the third quarter, 19 total field goals, and .257 field-goal shooting.

“We just try to wear teams down and we've done that each and every game since our loss (to Chicago),” said LeBron James, who led the rout with 27 points and 8 assists.

Chris Bosh added 14 points.

Game 4 was uneventful as far as extracurricular activities on the court. Miami had kept its composure the first three games while the Bulls frequently lost theirs with 10 technicals and three ejections — drawing heavy criticism for what media and fans called “thuggery.”

“This series is not about coming in and getting your averages,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Throw them out the window. It's about making plays.”

Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 14 points and 12 rebounds but shot 3-of-14. Jimmy Butler had 12 points, seldom-used Richard Hamilton 11 and Gibson 10.

Nate Robinson, the team's leading scorer in this series at 18.3 ppg., went 0-for-12 and failed to score.

"(Miami) did a good job defending but I had a lot of open shots that I missed," said Robinson, who tweaked his shoulder in the game. "A lot of floaters that I usually make, I missed.

"You can't make every shot. At the same time, you got to know when it's not your night and it was not my night tonight. I've just got to try to bounce back."

Thibodeau wasn't about to point fingers.

“Nate had a tough game and Nate's a tough guy. He'll bounce back,” Thibodeau said. “He didn't make shots tonight but he's a shot maker.

“Our team didn't shoot well. We were 2-for-17 from 3. You gotta make shots against these guys.”

Chicago had been soundly outscored 101.7 to 88.3 the first three games, using only seven players much of the time.

With no Luol Deng (illness) or Kirk Hinrich (calf) once again, Bulls' starters were averaging close to 40 minutes or more per game.

So desperate were they for points, Thibodeau pulled Hamilton from the coach's doghouse early in the second period and the 14-year veteran responded with five points as Miami led 44-33 at the break and the Bulls shot a miserable 27 percent.

“We were trying to generate something,” Thibodeau said of using Hamilton. “We need everyone.”

Earlier, 6-foot-11 center Joakim Noah was named to the NBA's All-Defensive First Team – the first Bull since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in 1997-98.

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