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LeBron turns up heat on Rose, Bulls

The Chicago Bulls hadn’t lost three consecutive games all season, so after dropping two straight to the Miami Heat it wasn’t a surprise that they held a five-point lead heading into the fourth quarter of Game 4. The Bulls, however, couldn’t handle the Heat or their defensive pressure when it counted and now face a 3-1 deficit in the Eastern Conference Finals.

After outscoring the Bulls by 13 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, the Heat improved to 5-0 all-time in overtime playoff games.

LeBron James led all scorers with 35 points, including 23 after halftime. James shifted roles from a facilitator in Game 3 (13 field goal attempts, 11 assists) to an aggressive scorer in Game 4. He attempted a field goal or drew a shooting foul on 43 percent of the possessions in which he had a touch on Tuesday, after shooting or drawing a shooting foul on just 25 percent of the possessions that he had a touch in Game 3.

James’ 35 points were a big reason for the Heat’s success, but it was his defensive pressure against Bulls star Derrick Rose that may have been the key to victory.

Derrick Rose In 4th Quarter & OT
This Postseason

Without a true point guard on the floor for most of the fourth quarter and overtime, James took over as Miami’s primary defender on Rose despite guarding him on just two plays in the first three games of the series. Over the final 10 minutes of play, Rose was 0-for-4 against James, including misses on Chicago’s final two shots in regulation with the score tied.

Rose is now 1-for-11 when guarded by James this season including the playoffs.

Rose has actually struggled late against the entire Heat team. The 2011 MVP has not made a 3-pointer after the third quarter in this series and is shooting just 21 percent in the fourth and overtime this series.

In pressure situations like when the shot clock shows four seconds or fewer, Rose is 0-for-13 this series including 0-for-6 in Game 4.

The series now shifts back to Chicago, where the Bulls are 6-2 this postseason. However, history is not on the Bulls side. Teams up 3-1 in best-of-seven series have gone on to win the series 96 percent of the time. The last team to come back from down 3-1 in a Conference Finals series was the Boston Celtics in 1981 against the Philadelphia 76ers.