Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls: Game 4 Postgame Grades and Analysis
The Chicago Bulls were out of Game 4 before it started, which led to an impressive 88-65 win by the Miami Heat.
The Heat beat the Bulls from the tip, starting the game on a 13-4 run that gave them the lead for the rest of the game.
While the Bulls were never really in Game 4, their nine-point third quarter—which is a franchise playoff low—didn't help them, as the Heat pulled ahead by 19 at the end of the third quarter and never looked back.
LeBron James led the way for the Heat, with 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds—while shooting 8-of-9 from the charity stripe.
The Bulls shot a combined 25.7 percent from the floor and 11.8 percent from beyond the arc. It's hard to beat anyone in the NBA shooting those kinds of percentages, especially the reigning NBA champions.
The Bulls just couldn't overcome the Heat's consistent and tenacious defense, which led to 17 turnovers for the Bulls.
Game 5 of this series is set for Wednesday night at 7 p.m. back in South Beach, and based on their Game 4 performance, the Bulls look like they're ready to watch the rest of the NBA playoffs from the comfort of their own homes.
Mario Chalmers, PG Heat
It was a very quiet night for Mario Chalmers, as he ended with just six points on 2-of-5 shooting with a measly three assists.
Chalmers didn't force himself on the game though, which is always encouraging, as he shot 2-of-5 from the field and 1-of-3 from beyond the arc.
The last thing the Heat needed was for him to keep shooting the ball after he started off rather inefficiently. Chalmers instead deferred to everyone else on the floor and that's what the Heat needed from him.
His defense early on against Nate Robinson helped frustrate Robinson from the tip, which led to his awful shooting performance. Kudos to Chalmers for hanging with the usually explosive Robinson.
Overall Grade: B-
Nate Robinson, PG Bulls
The first quarter wasn't kind to Nate Robinson, as he scored zero points on 0-of-6 shooting from the field.
The second quarter wasn't any better for him though, as he ended the the first half with zero points on 0-of-6 shooting with two turnovers.
All in all it was an absolutely awful performance by Robinson at the worst time possible for the Bulls. It's not like Robinson wasn't getting open looks. He just couldn't knock anything down, including floaters in the paint that he usually knocks down.
He ended with zero points on 0-of-12 shooting from the field and 0-of-5 from beyond the arc. Robinson also committed four turnovers.
It was a nightmare of a night for Robinson, and his atrocious performance helped the Heat move one step closer to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Overall Grade: F
Dwyane Wade, SG Heat
Something was wrong with Dwyane Wade during Game 4 because he wasn't himself. He got banged in the knee in the second quarter, but even before that he wasn't bring much to the floor.
He ended the first half with a goose egg in the points column of the stat sheet, and he only had one more assist than he had turnovers—with three assists and two turnovers.
Luckily the Heat didn't need much from Wade because the Bulls looked like they weren't interested in winning Game 4 from the moment the game got underway.
Wade shot a rough 3-of-10 from the field, and he never really got into any sort of a groove offensively.
It will be interesting to see how Wade responds in Game 5, after a somewhat underwhelming performance with six points, four assists and three rebounds.
Overall Grade: C-
Marco Belinelli, SG Bulls
No one in a Bulls jersey had an efficient or productive night, and Marco Belinelli certainly wasn't exempt from that.
Belinelli ended the night with nine points on 3-of-8 shooting from the field and an awful 0-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
He couldn't keep up with anyone defensively, which played a significant part in the Heat's hot start.
While no one played well for the Bulls, Belinelli's energy-deficient performance is very concerning because he looked like he has no fuel left in the tank.
That's bad news since the Bulls have to face elimination in the form of the Heat on Wednesday.
Overall Grade: D+
LeBron James, SF Heat
LeBron James was a turnover machine in the first half, with four turnovers. But he made up for it with a dominant performance through the first 24 minutes with 15 points, five assists and four rebounds.
He continued where he left off in the second half, ending the game with 27 points, eight assists and seven rebound.
LeBron cut down on the turnovers, with just on in the second half, and while he shot just 9-of-20 from the field he continued to impress from the free-throw line—shooting 8-of-9 from the charity stripe on the night.
Maybe it was the Bulls' atrocious defense, but LeBron looked like he was giving about 75 percent out there, and that makes his near triple-double that much more impressive.
Overall Grade: A
Jimmy Butler, SF Bulls
Just like the rest of his teammates, Jimmy Butler forgot how to shoot in Game 4.
He ended then night with 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting, grabbing five rebounds along the way.
Defensively speaking he wasn't awful against LeBron James, but he seemed to consistently be a half-step slower than LeBron on the perimeter which led to the Heat's huge win.
Butler missed a number of open looks from the perimeter throughout the night, which hurt the Bulls ability to open up the paint for their interior offense.
Rough night overall for Butler and the Bulls.
Overall Grade: C+
Udonis Haslem, PF Heat
Just by looking at Udonis Haslem's stat line of six points, seven rebounds, two steals and one assist, you should know what kind of night the Bulls had.
Haslem is typically not that productive, just holding a place in the lineup until Chris Andersen comes flying in off the bench.
That wasn't the case in Game 4 as Haslem actually made a significant impact on the game.
Early on Haslem abused the Bulls in the paint, and it set the tone early for the Heat as they cruised to an easy win. Haslem's defense was strong, as usual, which included a number of charges that frustrated the Bulls.
Overall Grade: B
Carlos Boozer, PF Bulls
After a relatively productive first half, Carlos Boozer cooled off fast, ending the night with just 14 points on 3-of-14 shooting from the field.
Most of his production came from the charity stripe, scoring eight of his 14 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the free-throw line.
While Boozer's night looks impressive on paper, with a double-double consisting of 14 points and 12 rebounds, the Bulls were unable to capitalize on a number of the second-chance opportunities he created for them.
Boozer's inability to knock down jumpers—shooting 21.4 percent from the floor—hurt the Bulls early on and they never recovered.
The fact that Haslem had a more efficient game than Boozer says a lot about the kind of game the Bulls had.
Overall Grade: C-
Chris Bosh, C Heat
I want a piece of whatever Chris Bosh ate before Game 4 because he came out on fire on both sides of the ball.
In the first quarter alone Bosh scored 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and blocked two shots, solidifying his defensive presence in the paint from the tip.
Bosh really didn't do that much through the final three quarters, scoring just four points on 2-of-4 shooting during that stretch.
What Bosh did do for the first time in awhile was solidify the interior on the defensive side of the ball for the Heat. It made a major difference on how guys like Nate Robinson, Jimmy Butler and Marco Belinelli faired when they entered the paint.
Bosh's defense—with four blocks—was a difference-maker throughout Game 4, even if the Bulls looked disinterested in winning this one.
Overall Grade: B+
Joakim Noah, C Bulls
Joakim Noah grabbed four offensive boards in the first quarter, but he was unable to capitalize on them with zero points through the first 12 minutes.
In the final three quarters Noah didn't do much more, ending the night with just six points and nine rebounds.
For the first time in quite awhile Noah looked burned out. He brought no energy to the floor for a Bulls team that looked beat down from the tip.
Noah didn't even have a productive game defensively, failing to block a single shot and failing to make a significant impact in the paint in any way.
Noah was frustrated early on, and the Heat's tenacious defense didn't help things for him either. Noah looked like he checked out, and that's concerning as the Bulls head to South Beach for Game 5 on Wednesday.
Overall Grade: D+
Shane Battier , SG Heat
Based solely on his statistics, Shane Battier's performance fits better on the Bulls' stat sheet than it does on the Heat's stat sheet.
Battier shot an unusually inefficient 1-of-6 from the floor and beyond the arc, ending the night with just three points in 22 minutes.
Fortunately for Battier, he could've shot 1-of-15 from the floor and it wouldn't have made a big difference in this one.
Defensively speaking, Battier was as strong as usual, forcing turnovers and pressuring the Bulls on every single possession.
Overall Grade: C+
Taj Gibson, PF Bulls
There's not much to say about Taj Gibson's performance.
Even though he ended with 10 points and nine rebounds (five offensive), none of his production made an impact throughout the night.
His five offensive rebounds were at the foundation of the Bulls' plus-12 offensive rebounding advantage, but the Bulls didn't take advantage of those second-chance opportunities.
The biggest issue with Gibson's performance in Game 4 was his lack of defensive intensity, specifically in the paint—allowing the Heat to score 36 easy points in the paint.
With that being said, Gibson had the most productive and efficient night of any player coming off the Bulls' bench.
Overall Grade: C+
Miami Heat Bench
The Heat's bench got the job done against the Bulls, specifically on the defensive side of the ball.
Norris Cole's defensive pressure on Nate Robinson was key throughout the game, as he forced Robinson into difficult shots time and time again.
Chris Andersen brought it int he paint once again with two blocks, setting the defensive tone early on.
The difference between the Heat and Bulls' second units is defensive pressure, with the advantage clearly going to Miami.
Thanks to Andersen, Cole and Ray Allen—who combined for 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting—the Heat were able to run away with Game 4.
Overall Grade: B+
Chicago Bulls Bench
There was a Rip Hamilton sight in Game 4.
That should give you a good idea of just how deep the Bulls are having to go into their bench to find production in this series.
Unfortunately, the Bulls didn't get much production from anyone wearing a Bulls jersey and that includes everyone coming off the pine.
Hamilton and Taj Gibson scored 21 combined points for the Bulls, but they shot just 7-of-19 from the field. Inefficiency was the name of the game for the Bulls, including their second unit.
Overall Grade: C-