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NBA Playoffs: Heat outclass the Bulls, take series lead

May 23, 2011, 1:07 AM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Three Getty Images

Game 1 of the Bulls-Heat series was the kind of game the Bulls wanted to play — a physical slugfest that saw Chicago dominate the Heat by destroying them on the boards and keeping LeBron James and Dwyane Wade from being able to do too much damage. Game 2 was the kind of game that could have gone either way — neither team was able to get its offense going at all, but the Heat were able to keep the Bulls from killing them on the glass and took the game over in the final five minutes.

Game 3 was the kind of game the Heat wanted. The Heat got out to an early lead, ran their offense cleanly and shot over 50%, and forced Chicago’s offense to try and match their output. And with Derrick Rose contained yet again (he finished with 20 points on 19 shots and five assists), the Bulls had no hope of keeping up with the Heat.

The Heat’s half-court offense hummed on Sunday night, and that was mainly thanks to the play of Chris Bosh. LeBron James finished with 22 points, but spent most of the game facilitating and defending, and Dwyane Wade had some trouble getting his offense going after a few unsuccessful layup attempts early. Fortunately for the Heat, Bosh had his best game since becoming a member of Miami’s “Big Three,” and likely the best game of his career.

The Heat went to Bosh in pick-and-pop, pick-and-roll, and high-post situations all game long, and everything he did seemed to work. When the defense gave him space, he drained a mid-range jumper. When they tried to close out on him, he used his up-fake to clear space and attack the basket off the dribble. When they defended him perfectly, he hit impossible fadeaways. When he rolled to the basket, his teammates found him and he converted. With Bosh as the Heat’s offensive fulcrum, the Bulls were never able to get enough stops to really threaten the Heat, and Miami scored 25 or more points in each of the last three quarters.

On the other end of the court, the Heat’s defense looked as impressive as their offense. Joel Anthony, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade all appeared to be in multiple places at once, and came from out of nowhere to come up with steals, blocks, shot contests, and drawn charges time and time again while maintaining a wall between Derrick Rose and the basket. The Bulls had some success when they were able to get out in transition or utilize Joakim Noah‘s superb passing skills in half-court situation, but the Heat seemed a step ahead of the Bulls’ offense for the vast majority of the night.

Some of Chicago’s players, notably Keith Bogans, tried to bump the Heat players around and turn the game into the kind of physical battle they want to play against the Heat, but the Heat had none of it — it’s amazing how easy it is to keep your composure in the NBA when most of the shots you take go in the basket.

The Bulls now find themselves in the exact same position as the Heat were a week ago: they don’t have home-court advantage, they’re behind one game, and they’re coming off of a demoralizing and clear defeat. If they can get themselves together the way the Heat did after Game 1 and win Game 4, they get home-court advantage right back and put themselves in a very good position in this series, and this is a Bulls team that almost never went on any kind of a losing streak this season. However, if the Heat can make Game 4 look anything like Game 3 did, the Bulls will find themselves in major trouble.

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  1. Justin - May 23, 2011 at 1:32 AM

    I think 1 word sums up the game. Bosh. I knew when Boozer opened his mouth about the “Big 2” it would come back and bite them for at least one game.

  2. bittersonicsfan - May 23, 2011 at 3:12 AM

    I admit to being biased in favor of the Heat but can we people start to concede that Chris Bosh is ballin’? Did you hear the crowd when he and Taj Gibson got into it? He’s starting to get an edge which everyone punished him for not having. Bosh has arrived and it’s scary for the opposition.

    • gor76 - May 23, 2011 at 7:24 AM

      Bosh Spice was on fire.

    • chargerdillon - May 23, 2011 at 11:05 AM

      Everybody ripped Bosh for being soft all season long, MYSELF INCLUDED.

      Bosh is playing stronger and tougher than any other player on the court. All the money he got paid to be part of the “Big 3” was absolutely money well spent.

      Lots of guys can be a beast against bad teams in the regular season. Bosh has unleashed the beast against the team with the #1 record in the NBA that previously made him look bad during the most critical time where making shots and being clutch is everything.

  3. loungefly74 - May 23, 2011 at 8:24 AM

    I tip my hat to Bosh and the Heat. I was completely wrong about their desire to step up in the playoffs. They are playing very well at the right time.

    • southbeachtalent - May 23, 2011 at 9:12 AM

      Their desire? So you have some kind of desire-o-meter? Maybe it needs calibration?

      Curious to hear the excuses for yesterday’s game from the Bulls fans that where calling it a wrap after game 1???

      • hnirobert3 - May 23, 2011 at 10:10 AM

        It already started. Whitlock is tweeting that we’ll see more Taj Gibson and it’ll be a “#serieschanger.”

        Not sure how more Gibson will help. You’re going to have to replace Noah’s or Boozer’s minutes and if that’s the case, who else is going to score other than Rose? Unless you’re replacing Boggins with Gibson and going big? The Heat can counter that with going with a lineup of Wade, James, Bosh, Haslem and Anthony (which might be their best defensive lineup, thus causing more offensive issues for Chicago).

        And to quote Dwight Howard: smh.

      • chitownmatt - May 23, 2011 at 10:15 AM

        The desire-o-meter….?
        Yeah, its the look in LBJ’s eyes whenever they are down by 10.
        Its called the “scared little girl” look.
        You’ll see it Tuesday night.

  4. chitownmatt - May 23, 2011 at 10:12 AM

    The Heat played great last night, but the Bulls were not executing in the third and fourth as they normally do. Also, Deng and Korver both had a bad game… don’t expect that to continue.

    • southbeachtalent - May 23, 2011 at 10:28 AM

      Matt you obviously missed my point on the previous comment.

      As far as your assesment, yea Deng and Korver had a bad game but Boozer had a great game. Besides I don’t recall Korver ever having a ggod game. Maybe some clutch 3’s but never an all around good game? Bulls are a good team but they have to play superb to have a chance.

      Heat in 5.

    • heat256 - May 23, 2011 at 10:37 AM

      When you’re relying on kyle Korver to be a difference maker, you are in serious trouble.

    • hnirobert3 - May 23, 2011 at 10:53 AM

      Again, give credit where it’s due. Why weren’t they executing in the 3rd and 4th quarter? Because of chance, or because the Heat’s D shut them down? I get the hate people have for Heat fans but I was man enough to own up and say that Chicago shut my team down in game 1. Do the same.

    • miami4allday - May 23, 2011 at 12:37 PM

      EXECUTING WHAT YOU FOOL??????? lol The bulls are a One Man team. The Bulls are killing their one dimensional offense. Rose does not need pick n roll to get open, yet the bulls continue to try and run this play and all it allows the heat to do is trap/double team him. He gives up the ball and now someone else has to create their own shot, which NO ONE on the bulls can consistently do!

      • chitownmatt - May 23, 2011 at 1:28 PM

        Boozer missed his switch at least three or four times, Noah at least twice. Asik (who rarely ever misses a switch) left with a sprained ankle. So, yes they did not execute defensively very well in the third and fourth quarters. I doubt that will happen again on Tuesday.

  5. Tim's Neighbor - May 23, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    I don’t care about Bosh and the Heat’s offense. That’s not why they won.

    They’ve gotten it done on defense the past two games. As a Bulls fan, it’s frustrating to watch, but as a basketball fan, it’s pretty impressive. The Bulls have had no offense the past two games and it’s because Lebron and Wade are asserting themselves on the defensive end for once. Not just diving intp passing lanes for a stat-building steal, but hedging properly, help-side, etc. Joel Anthony deserves as much credit for that win (if not more) than Bosh.

  6. crenfroe45 - May 23, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    Joel Anthony played very well last night. He had 4 blocks in the first quarter that helped set the tone defensively for the rest of the game.

    And of course, MVP chants could be heard in the arena when he went to the FT line.

  7. hnirobert3 - May 23, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    The desire-o-meter….?
    Yeah, its the look in LBJ’s eyes whenever they are down by 10.
    Its called the “scared little girl” look.
    You’ll see it Tuesday night.


    Really… body language talk? What did Noah’s body language tell you last night? How about Gibson’s when Bosh chewed him up? And Rose’s when he realized it was 1 on 5? Are you a body language oracle?

    • chitownmatt - May 23, 2011 at 1:30 PM

      Yes, I am.

      • hnirobert3 - May 23, 2011 at 3:18 PM


  8. cam3420 - May 23, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    ok bosh is a great player always has been no matter wat his stats were this season but look at all the PF that have gone up against boozer in these playoffs im mean for gods sake Tyler Hansbourough put up 30 on us, against Boozer, im jus ssaying its real easy to look great when theres no defense on u

  9. frobaggins - May 23, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    all the heat fans commenting are hilarious. i grew up in south florida, i’m accustomed to the fans and how they act and its actually really comical to me at this point. guys are wayyyyyy to sensitive. couple people scoffed at someone for saying that the bulls or a bulls player “won’t play that bad every night”. why would any heat fan talk smack at that when the same heat fans said the same thing after game 1? its ok to assume lebron and wade wont have more than one bad game, but not derrick rose? hniwhoever brings up that “everyone hates the heat” about 89% of his posts. brah thats not true, get over it. people want to see them lose cause they are the favorites, plain and simple, its like that in every sport (yankees/cowboys). people pull for the underdog…why do you think so many people like the movie Hoosiers? or did all you heat fans root for Hickory High to lose?

  10. nutsacjac - May 23, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    The Bulls are done. The Heat are just better and the Bulls know it. Chicag(no O) has no one who can consistently drain a shot.

    I thought the Heat wouldn’t win this year, just having a team with the big 3 and a bunch of castoffs; guess I was wrong.

  11. alltimeballa - May 23, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    I don’t post here often but my last post warned Bulls fans that D Rose scored 42% of his reams points in these playoffs and that would ultimately be the downfall of this Bulls team. Miami may be the Big 3 or Boozer said Big 2 but Chicago is the Big 1. I don’t expect the Bulls to be able to figure out anything to change what has now become inevitable….Miami Heat are going to the NBA Finals. For those who think Chicago blows Heat out on Tuesday in Miami, good luck with that theory. After this series is over, you can jump on The Heat bandwagon like so many others…..we welcome you!

    • hnirobert3 - May 23, 2011 at 3:17 PM

      ESPN has a poll up on their Sports Nation page. The question is: Who do you want to win the Eastern Conference Finals. Amazingly, something like 60% of the country said the Heat. I doubt it’s because they want to watch them lose in the Finals. It’s because they have 2 of the more marketable and likeable players in the league. Plus, they play a fun style of basketball. There’s at least 1 or 2 plays a game that will leave your jaw on the floor.

  12. southbeachtalent - May 23, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    In all this I haven’t heard purdueman? Where are you purdueman???

  13. bittersonicsfan - May 23, 2011 at 4:25 PM


    Body language oracle? Someone listens to Dan LeBatard, I do to!

    • hnirobert3 - May 23, 2011 at 8:31 PM

      In Lebbie I Trust.

      • bittersonicsfan - May 24, 2011 at 7:42 AM


      • southbeachtalent - May 24, 2011 at 8:51 AM

        As do I !!

  14. philtration - May 23, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    It’s a 3-peat!

    Congratulations to the Miami heat for becoming the first team in NBA history to win three championships in one year!
    The first came before they even played a single game so that won was extra special.

    Then came the series with Boston giving them their 2nd title in just 8 months!

    Now the Heat have completed the hat trick by winning their 3rd ring of the 2010-2011 season by defeating the Bulls after only 2 win in a 7 game series.
    The trick was the Heat played a best of 3 series while the rest of the world thought it was best of 7 and proclaimed themselves world champions once again!


    • southbeachtalent - May 24, 2011 at 8:58 AM

      Phil that was weak….

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