Things have gotten a bit out of control in the Eastern Conference Semifinal matchup between the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat. Joakim Noah and the Bulls stole Game 1 with a gritty performance and seized the narrative of the series, but LeBron James and the Heat responded with a dominating performance in Game 2 that set the two franchises' records for margin of victory and defeat. Now the action shifts to Chicago for Game 3, and rumors about Derrick Rose's return are circling again.
Here are three key questions heading into Game 3 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) at the United Center.
Can Tom Thibodeau adjust to Miami's adjustments?
The Bulls did an excellent job on defense in their Game 1 win. They funneled the ball away from LeBron James and into the hands of role players on the perimeter, which caused the Heat offense to stagnate when those players missed their three-point looks. Mike Prada of SB Nation noted the ways that Miami adjusted in Game 2 -- including well-timed, simultaneous cuts off the ball and more 4-1 pick-and-roll -- as they exploded for 115 points and got nice contributions from Ray Allen and Norris Cole.
The Bulls don't have the talent to keep up with top-notch offenses, so to have a chance they need to find a way to slow down Miami's attack in Game 3. Tom Thibodeau may be the best defensive-minded coach in the NBA, so if anyone can scheme against LeBron, it's him.
Will the referees be a factor?
The Bulls need to be able to play physical defense to have any chance at stopping LeBron James and the Heat, so it will be interesting to see if the referees call a tight game on Friday night after a very chippy Game 2. A whopping 51 personal fouls were called in Game 2. Chris Andersen was slapped with a flagrant-one foul for shoving Marco Belinelli into the bench during the second quarter. Nine technical fouls were assessed, including six against the Bulls, and Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were both ejected from the contest. Things got out of hand in Miami, even before a Miami fan flashed Noah the finger on his way out.
If the referees call a tight game, it could impact Chicago's chances to pull another upset.
Will we get any closure on the Derrick Rose rumors?
Will he play, or won't he? Is it okay to criticize his decision to sit out, or isn't it? Could he make a material difference for the Bulls right now, or not? Derrick Rose hasn't ruled out a return during the postseason, but he's been very hard to read when it comes to where he is in his rehabilitation from the torn ACL he suffered last April. There are now rumors that he could suit up for Game 3. Can this situation finally just be over?
Game time: 8 p.m. ET
Odds: Miami is a seven-point favorite on the road, according to Odds Shark.