Bulls vs Heat Game 5: Keys for Chicago to Stave off Elimination

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IMay 15, 2013

MIAMI, FL - MAY 06: Nate Robinson #2 of the Chicago Bulls and Taj Gibson #22 of the Chicago Bulls celebrate after Robinson scores against the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 6, 2013 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

After beating Miami in Game 1, the Chicago Bulls have been steamrolled by LeBron James and the Heat. Now facing an elimination game on the road Wednesday night, the Bulls must find a way to stop the bleeding, or their season will be finished.

Game 5 will be tough to win, as the crowd at the AmericanAirlines Arena will be rocking. 

That said, Chicago's Game 1 victory proves the team has what it takes to keep the series going for at least one more game.

Here are the biggest keys for the Bulls as they attempt to stave off elimination on Wednesday.

Find a Way To Keep Nate Robinson Fresh

Robinson has fizzled badly after a brilliant performance in Game 1 when he scored 27 points and dropped nine dimes.

He was unable to make a single field-goal attempt in Game 4, and ESPN Stats & Info posted a chart of all his missed shots:

Many of these shots were ones Robinson would have normally made, but he was simply exhausted. During the contest, Sam Smith of Bulls.com said he'd never seen Robinson as haggard as he was:

With Derrick Rose's continued absence and the team dealing with so many other injuries, Robinson has become the heart and soul of the Bulls. He's poured himself out on the court, but he can only do so much. 

Marquis Teague hasn't been hitting his shots, and he's not hardly as effective at running the team's offense as Robinson, but he's the only other real point guard on Chicago's roster right now (besides Rose, of course). 

Head coach Tom Thibodeau must find a way to keep Robinson fresh for the second half of the game, or Chicago will lose. 

Interior Defense and Rebounding are Critical

File this under the "duh" category.

Chicago can't win unless Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Nazr Mohammed and Taj Gibson dominate the paint. 

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Miami was able to score 18 field goals in the paint in Game 4...out of 25 attempts:

Furthermore, Miami dominated the fast-break action, per ESPN Stats & Info:

Everyone knows stopping James in the paint is a task that's easier said than done, but the Bulls are doomed to failure without a brilliant defensive effort from the big men inside.

Stop Worrying About Fouls

This is a physical series, and everybody knows it. 

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the nine technical fouls in Game 2 counted as the most in any playoff game since 1995:

The entire series has been marked by high foul totals and a seemingly never-ending supply of complaints.

The thing is, Miami is getting the better end of the bargain right now.

Chicago has been getting too concerned with getting the referees to notice fouls, and as a result, the Heat have been able to capitalize on the scoreboard.

The only way the Bulls will win Game 5 is if the players come into the game with clear heads. They must quit worrying about whether or not the refs call fouls and start focusing on executing on both sides of the ball.

Not only has all the crying gotten irritating, it's hurting this team, which already can't afford any mistakes against Miami—a team with more talent and depth.

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 


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