Question of the Day: Can the Chicago Bulls recover from a 2-1 deficit to win the Eastern Conference finals? [Updated]
Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss the Eastern Conference finals, in which the Miami Heat currently holds a 2-1 advantage over the Chicago Bulls. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to weigh in with a comment of your own.
Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Can they? Sure. Let's not forget this is the team that finished with the NBA's best regular-season record.
Will they? Not until Derrick Rose again starts playing like the MVP and Tom Thibodeau starts coaching again like the Coach of the Year.
This has been as much about scheme as skill for the Heat, as shown by the defensive bent of the team's two victories. Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers are not gifted enough defensively to stop Rose, but the Heat scheme has been a nightmare for the Bulls point guard. This is where Rose and Thibodeau have to come up with something better.
Let's face it, the Bulls were hardly overwhelming in their first two series. For as flawed as many have viewed the Heat's lack of depth, the lack of scoring offered by the Bulls has been telling, simply not enough creativity in the approach to this point.
Unless Rose and Thibodeau change things up, their only hardware will come from individual, regular-season awards.
Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel
Sure, the Chicago Bulls can recover from their 2-1 deficit against the Miami Heat. A win Tuesday night in Game 4 would change the complexion of the series immediately and give the Bulls home-court advantage once again.
Problem is, there are reasons why Miami leads the series.
Miami is a superb defensive team, and the Bulls simply don't have consistent perimeter scoring threats to complement Derrick Rose. That enables the Heat to defend Rose more easily.
And as the Bulls are learning, Miami has more than two dangerous scoring options. In Game 3, Chicago slowed LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, holding the duo to 12-of-30 shooting combined. But in the NBA, you can't take away something without leaving scoring opportunities somewhere else. Chris Bosh took advantage of that, scoring 34 points.
Game 4 is the key game now. In crucial games, the team with more experience has the edge. Miami has that experience.
[Updated at 1:16 p.m.:
Lisa Dillman, Los Angeles Times
It seemed so simple.
The first impulse was to barely forge ahead and stick firmly with my recent prediction -- Bulls -- and say, yes, of course they can recover from a 2-1 series deficit.
Then Monday morning came a blinding flash of light, of inspiration. OK, it was a website. It convinced me to change my mind. Whowins.com put it out there in stark fashion: Chicago, when trailing 2-1 in a best-of-seven-game series, holds a 1-10 overall series record and, worse yet, is on a current five-series losing run in that position.
Miami, for the record, is 5-3 when leading 2-1 in a best-of-seven-game series.
K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune
I predicted the Bulls to win the Eastern Conference finals in seven games, with the caveat that the Heat might win in six. How's that for strong prognostication?
The Bulls haven't lost three straight games all season, so this series isn't as over as some might think. The Heat's defense has done a better-than-expected job of getting the ball out of Derrick Rose's hands and limiting his fourth-quarter impact. Expect that to change in Tuesday's Game 4. And when it does, the Bulls will reclaim homecourt advantage with a victory.
After that, it's a best-of-three, which means the Bulls will win in seven. Unless the Heat win in six. More seriously, though, the Bulls' defense hasn't smothered the Heat like it has most teams this season. And the Bulls' offense has looked lethargic and not crisp too often in the half-court setting. Somebody such as Luol Deng or Kyle Korver needs to start hitting jumpers to space the floor for my original prediction to be accurate.]
Photo: Derrick Rose. Credit: Robert Duyos / Sun-Sentinel / MCT