Heat Edge Bulls To Reach Finals
Bulls were so desperate to win the Game 5 that they resorted to a couple of hits. LeBron got knocked twice, but he stood up every time and continued the game as if nothing happened. Miami edged East leaders Chicago 83-80 last night at the United Center to reach their first NBA Finals with the new look.
Erik Spoelstra’s side passed the Bulls 4-1 in the Conference finals to grab their first silver trophy in the new era. Miami’s Big Trio scored 69 points in Chicago, which proved to be enough to make the progress and stun one of the main title favorites. LeBron James came up with 28 of them, including 11 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks.
Dwyane Wade had 21 points, six rebounds, two assists and a couple of steals, while Chris Bosh finished his 42-minute showing with 20 points, ten rebounds, four blocks, one assist and one steal. Even so, Bulls had the better start managing to build a seven-point lead in the first half, only to be overcome in the second one. Thus, they won the first quarter 25-21 to enter the locker-rooms with a 45-38 advantage.
As for the second half, it found Miami taking things under control, brick by brick. The visitors edged Tom Thibodeau’s side 19-17, but at least five more points needed to be recovered. Finally, Heat provided an amazing late rally which found the home side losing most of their early pace and allowing the Heat go eight points adrift. Miami thundered past them to meet Dallas Mavericks in the NBA last term.
Joe Anthony came up with three points, two rebounds, two blocks and one steal last night, while Mike Bibby, who played just 16 minutes, managed to deliver just a couple of passes and pick a rebound, missing at the same time four FGM throws and two three-point attempts. Concerning their reserves, Heat’s bench added just 11 points, Spoelstra choosing to use just three players, including Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem.
The first one brought seven points, six rebounds and one assist, Chalmers came off the bench to score four more points and grab a rebound, while Haslem, who played 26 minutes, left scoreless but grabbed five rebounds instead. James Jones, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, once a starter, Juwan Howard and Eddie House were all kept on the bench throughout the entire meeting. Overall, Heat converted six out of 15 three-point throws, three of which being added by LeBron. Wade, Miller and Chalmers had one, each.
On the other side, Derrick Rose was also on fire, but he proved that Bulls have to start looking for some brand new cornerstones if they want to break through and set new heights, other than the regular season. Chicago star had 25 points, eight assists five rebounds, one block and one steal. Luol Deng scored just 18 points, converting six out of 17 FGM attempts and two of four three-point throws.
As for Carlos Boozer, he converted just one out of six FGMs, finishing his 26-minute work with five points and six rebounds. Neither Joakim Noah, nor Keith Bogans shined too bright. The first one grabbed eight rebounds and socred five points, while the latter one came up with the same number of points, one rebound, one assist, one steal and a three-pointer.
Bulls’ bench brought 22 points, ten of which being added by Ronnie Brewer who played 27 minutes. Kyle Korver had five points and one block, Kurt Thomas came off the bench to pick eight rebounds and scor four points, while C.J. Watson finished his six-minute showing with three points, two assists and one steal. Finally, Taj Gibson left scoreless, but managed to grab seven rebounds, deliver a pass and make one steal.
Thibodeau kept Rasual Butler and Brian Scalabrine on the bench throughout the entire meeting. Overall, Chicago converted seven three pointers. Deng and Rose had two, each, while Bogans, Brewer and Korver converted one apiece.
Said delighted Spoelstra: “All of them close games, where we didn’t execute down the stretch and weren’t able to close games out, that helped us. As painful as that was, we had to go through that fire together to be able to gain the confidence where we could be successful now in the postseason.”
Miami have gone 12-3 so far this playoffs, their three losses coming from all Philadelphia, Boston and Bulls. Chicago, by contrast, leave the competition with 9 wins and 7 losses. They lost one game against Indiana and two against Atlanta.
Heat’s next sotp is Dallas Mavericks who passed Oklahoma City Thunder with the same 4-1 result. Dirk Nowitzki and Co. have gone 12-3 this playoffs, managing to keep the sheet clean in the Conference semi finals against Los Angeles Lakers.
Game 1 of the finals is scheduled to take place on May 31 at the American Airlines Arena, Miami.11