Heat vs. Bulls: Game 4 Adjustments Each Team Must Make

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2013

May 8, 2013; Miami, FL, USA;  Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) looks at Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) during the second half in game two of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 115-78. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have taken a 2-1 advantage over the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinals, but this series is far from over.

Despite dealing with the serious injuries of key players, the Bulls have proven time and again that they will not go down without a fight. Playing at home will be enough to make the next game competitive against the defending champs.

However, either side is capable of struggling if no adjustments are made. Here is how each squad can improve heading into Game 4.


Miami Heat

Get Dwyane Wade More Involved

Even though Dwyane Wade has become a bit of a forgotten man this season, he is still one of the best players in the NBA. He finished eighth in the league with 21.2 points per game and had the highest field-goal percentage of his career at 52.1 percent.

However, he has yet to score more than 15 points in a game this series. In Game 3, the guard only took seven shots.

As good as LeBron James is, he cannot do everything himself. The team needs to find a way to get Wade some more shots to make the offense that much more dangerous.


Watch the Shooters

While Chicago likes to run its offense through the post, there are a number of good three-point shooters on the team that can spread the floor.

Jimmy Butler and Marco Belinelli have shot well throughout the series, and the long shots are keeping the Bulls close on the scoreboard. Miami needs to make sure it closes quickly on these players to avoid allowing open shots.

On the other hand, there are also a number of inconsistent shooters on the roster that could end up hurting Chicago just as much as they help.

Daequan Cook hit only 24.6 percent of shots from behind the arc this season and is 0-for-6 in the series. Even Nate Robinson has gone cold and is now 6-for-20 in the first three games. If these players continue to struggle, the Heat should not be afraid to force a bad shot from the outside.


Chicago Bulls

Get Back to Dominating the Glass

The Heat struggled all season at getting boards and ranked dead last in the league at rebounds per game. Conversely, the Bulls were among the best in the league in this category.

This showed in Game 1 when Chicago won the rebounding battle 46-32. The result was a 93-86 win on the road.

In the next two games, however, Miami had the advantage on the glass and earned the victories. With Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer down low, the Bulls cannot let this happen.

If the team wants to even up this series, it will need to get back to its roots as a strong rebounding unit. Otherwise, the second chances will kill them on the defensive end.


Turn LeBron James into a Jump-Shooter

LeBron James has shown off his great passing ability in this series with at least seven assists in every game. When he decides to take it himself, he is going hard into the lane and finishing there.

In three games, James has only taken 10 shots from three-point range, which is right on line with his average attempts for the season. If you haven't heard, he had a pretty good season while earning the MVP award.

The Bulls need to take him out of his comfort zone and stop allowing him to do whatever he wants with the ball. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but it starts with forcing him to take more shots from behind the arc.

Even though he has improved in this area from earlier in his career, he is still not as good shooting from 25 feet away as he is from three feet. This will also reduce his ability to get to the free-throw line, where he tallies a good majority of his points.

Jimmy Butler has the size and strength to defend James well, but it might be better to give him some space and let him shoot from deep.