The Miami Heat are winning again, but it hasn't been as comfortable as Game 2. They lead the Chicago Bulls 52-50 at halftime.
The Bulls got off to a fast start thanks to Carlos Boozer. Boozer scored 10 of the team's first 14 points as they began the game on a 7-0 run. They were able to keep pace with the Heat for most of the first quarter, even taking a 21-19 lead at one point, although Jimmy Butler was forced to sit for a stretch with two early fouls.
LeBron James was more content to play the messenger, scoring just 4 points but dishing out 3 assists in the first quarter. The game was tied, 25-25, entering the second quarter.
Things got ugly in the second quarter when Nazr Mohammed shoved James to the ground. Mohammed got ejected from the game and James earned a technical foul.
After that incident, the Bulls started to pull away. Marco Belinelli and Jimmy Butler drained a combined three three-pointers to give the team a six-point lead, their biggest of the game. The Heat came right back, though, with a 9-0 run at the end of the second quarter to give them the halftime lead.
Boozer leads the Bulls with 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Belinelli has 12 points and is a key reason why Chicago is only down two, despite this embarrassing miss:
James is having a quiet night with just 8 points. Norris Cole came off the bench to lead the Heat with 11 points and Chris Bosh added 10. He also leads the team with 10 rebounds. The Heat are shooting 51.4 percent from the field.
Let's re-examine the three questions Steve von Horn asked prior to Friday's game:
Can Tom Thibodeau adjust to Miami's adjustments?
Thibs got the Bulls back on their physical game that won them Game 1. They made LeBron and Dwyane Wade almost non-factors and forced the role players to pick up the slack. With such a depleted roster, this is exactly the strategy the Bulls need if they want to keep hanging with the Heat.
Will the referees be a factor?
Absolutely. In addition to the aforementioned ejection, the game has been as chippy as ever. A combined 22 fouls and three technicals have been handed out so far. It's not quite the melee Game 2 was, but it's obvious these teams do not like each other.
Will we get any closure on the Derrick Rose rumors?
Nope. Rose is out once again, so we'll have to deal with this saga for another few days.