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Eastern Conference Finals Game 5: Miami Heat (3-1) vs. Chicago Bulls (1-3)

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LeBron and the Heat are 1 win away from the NBA Finals.
LeBron and the Heat are 1 win away from the NBA Finals.

Now that we've all hopefully calmed down after that ridiculously exciting Game 4 overtime win, its time to get back into focus mode for tonight's possible series ending Game 5.  We found out last night that waiting for the winner of this series in the NBA Finals will be the Dallas Mavericks, who took care of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals 4 games to 1.  So if the Heat can take care of business and get one more win against the Bulls, we'll have a 2006 Finals rematch. 

Right now Miami is in as good of a place as we've seen them all season.  They have a completely healthy lineup and are getting production from guys like Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller.  Haslem's comeback is something that even the Heat coaches didn't fully believe would happen until they actually saw him ready to go in practice.  Miller has seen an amazing resurgence in this series, and in Game 4 he had by far his best game of the playoffs.

Now the Heat can play the lineup of the Big 3, Udonis and Miller late in games and not have to worry about constantly subbing guys in and out, which you saw Chicago doing every time there was a dead ball late in Game 4.  Miami has plenty of defense in that lineup with Haslem and Miller, and we all know how great defensively D-Wade and LeBron are.  I'm only mentioning defense because with those 5 players you know that offense wont be a problem. 

The Heat has gone into every game with a ‘must win' mentality, something that has helped them keep their focus regardless of where the series is at.  Now they head back to the Madhouse On Madison and will try to do what they have been working towards all year; a trip to the NBA Finals.  Actually, their goal has been to win in the Finals, but in order to do that they have to get there first.  

GAME NOTES

  • In NBA history, when a team goes up 3-1 in a best-of-seven series they have won 192 out of 200 times. 
  • The last team to come back from a 1-3 deficit was the 1981 Boston Celtics against the Philadelphia 76ers
  • The Heat is 4-0 all-time in series' that they lead 3 games to 1.  The Bulls are 0-5 when falling behind in that 3-1 situation. 
  • Throughout the playoffs, Miami has held their opponent under 100 points in 13 out of 14 games.
  • Joel Anthony has blocked at least one shot in 10 straight games this postseason.  Only Alonzo Mourning has done that in Heat franchise history. 
  • Chicago has now lost 3 consecutive games for the first time this season. 
  • LeBron James has scored 35+ points three times this postseason and has gone 22-of-22 from the foul line in his last two games. 
  • The Heat is reporting no injuries.
  • Chicago center Omer Asik (leg) has been ruled out for Game 5. 

Tipoff from the United Center is set for 8:30 and the game will be broadcast on TNT.  The Heat is hosting a viewing party outside of the AAA on their giant 3,400-square-foot mesh LED screen.  Hip-hop star Ludacris will perform prior to tipoff, and fans are asked to bring their own folding chairs, but no coolers or pets will be allowed.  The event will begin at 7.