With time winding down in the fourth and the ball in Derrick Rose's hands, the Miami Heat turned to LeBron James on the defensive end. In a grind-it-out, ugly game, both teams had to turn to defense and it began with James setting the tone. Sandwiched between fleeting moments featuring highlight reel players were stretches with little in the way of offense, including most of the first quarter.
Rose acknowledged the effort of James and admitted he made life difficult throughout Game 4. The athleticism of James, and his ability to stay with Rose and contest his shots, made those isolation plays the league MVP loves that much harder to execute.
"It's extremely hard when a 6-8 guy can easily defend you," Rose said following the loss.
And it showed. With the game tied and under a minute to go, the Bulls isolated Rose at the top of the key. Twice Rose and James went head-to-head and twice James came out on top -- forcing fall-away jumpers on both occasions, the second of which didn't even come close as time expired.
As James set the example, the rest of the Heat followed suit. Dwyane Wade, who struggled on the offensive end for much of the game, blocked two shots in overtime, including a Derrick Rose floater late that could've cut the Miami lead to four. The Heat swarmed on Rose, contested shots and came through on the defensive end as the offense began to sputter.
As a result, Miami is one game away from the NBA Finals and holds a commanding 3-1 series lead heading into Game 5 at the United Center on Thursday.