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It’s not a playoff game, but Heat’s win over Bulls felt like one

Apr 20, 2012, 12:26 AM EDT

Miami Heat's LeBron James moves against Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah in the first half of their NBA basketball game in Miami, Florida Reuters

Tell me you don’t think the Eastern Conference Finals are going to be fun… that felt like a rivalry game.

The Miami Heat’s 83-72 win over the Chicago Bulls is not an indication of how a playoff series between these teams plays out — not with Bulls MVP Derrick Rose and the Heat’s Chris Bosh in street clothes. Besides, by the time we get a month into the playoffs these teams will have evolved and be different.

But the Heat did send a message — not to the Bulls, but to themselves. One week ago the Bulls beat the Heat with ferocity and execution Miami could not match. Derrick Rose sat out the overtime and the Bulls outscored the Heat 8-2. This week the Heat matched that intensity and showed some execution of their own. The message was clear — we’re here and we’re not backing down

We did get a glimpse of what is to come in the playoffs… and these teams don’t like each other. It was intense, it was chippy, it felt like a playoff game. Dwyane Wade picked up a flagrant foul for throwing Rip Hamilton around like a rag doll. Hamilton spent all game trying to get under Wade’s skin. When those two line up against each other night after night for seven games it is going to be bloody good entertainment. Maybe literally.

The Heat came out and matched the physicality of the Bulls. They pushed back. At times a little too hard, like when James Jones cross-checked Joakim Noah and was ejected.

In the end the Heat won because LeBron James is playing very well right now — 27 points on 18 shots, plus 11 boards. They won because Udonis Haslem was attacking the rim and Mario Chalmers was in the middle of everything — they need their role players to step up. They won because Wade won the battle with Rip for a night.

Oh, the Eastern Conference finals are going to be fun. This intensity was only the tip of the iceberg.

  1. edweird0 - Apr 20, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    My favorite part was when Wade threw Rip around like a rag doll. I feel bad for bulls fans, your team str8 up got bullied tonight.

    • savvybynature - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:26 AM

      I wouldn’t feel too bad for them… They have the best record in the league, the reigning MVP and the reigning COY.
      Your sympathy is misplaced sir.

      • berto55 - Apr 20, 2012 at 9:00 AM

        Please…. a week ago Miami was scoreless from the field in OT and Kyle Korver drained a three from the ridiculous line. So a week ago the Heat got bullied by the Bulls bench (and Deng).

      • cweb8123 - Apr 20, 2012 at 9:48 AM

        Yes and last year they had the best record, the player that would be named MVP and the coach that would be COY and may I ask who beat them in the playoffs?

      • gmsingh - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:35 AM

        Yeah–the refs beat them in the playoffs.

    • willias1 - Apr 20, 2012 at 9:09 AM

      There’s a pretty big difference between getting bullied by a team (like the Heat do against the Bulls on a constant basis by getting out worked, out hustled, and out rebounded) or being the recipients of cheap shot bad basketball, which is what the ahead did last night. Players get hurt from stupid plays like that of James Jones, so kudos to the Bulls for not responding.

      Also, I want to see Lebron body check screen someone other than John Lucas and CJ Watson. Stepping in with your shoulder to destroy a smaller player is cowardly at best, but I guess not unexpected from the world’s most physically gifted jack-a**

      • borderline1988 - Apr 20, 2012 at 9:36 AM

        “recipients of cheap shot basketball”

        You’re talking about 2 plays, and no one got hurt. It had no effect on the game’s outcome.

        This game showed us what we’ve known all along. The Bulls and Heat both are tremendous on the defensive end. But at the end of the day, there’s no one on the Bulls who can put the ball on the floor, besides for Rose. They play great team ball and should be a model for other NBA teams, but they simply do not have the offensive talent to match up with the best teams in the league.

        The only chance they have is if Rose goes absolutely insane in the playoffs. But he’s coming off an injury and the Heat know how to handle him down the stretch. So it’s unlikely.

        Eastern Finals: Heat in 5 again. No reason to think it’ll turn out differently than last year.

  2. lameasish - Apr 20, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    I hate rip simply for the mask lol. Once wade is back into the flow of things it won’t be much of a battle between the two.

  3. buffalowned - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    let’s keep in mind chicago is going to have to get past boston to play in the eastern conference finals. i know the bulls have a much better record and beat them up in the regular season but the playoffs are not the regular season. without rose at 100% and at this point it doesn’t look like he’s going to be, the bulls are no lock to beat boston. i would much rather play indiana in the 2nd round than a playoff proven team like boston

    • pudgalvin - Apr 20, 2012 at 8:23 AM

      Totally disagree. I think the Bulls size dominates the Celtics. It’d be a tough series, but I think that’s the Bulls absolute best matchup in the playoffs.

      • southbeachtalent - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:29 AM

        Bulls wont make the ECF this year unless Rose comes back and plays to the very best of his abilities. Which is highly doubtful.

      • passerby23 - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:37 AM

        I tend to agree. The Bulls’ size and physicality is a problem for Boston. It’s a much more favorable matchup for Chicago. Nobody is picking Indiana to do anything, so they have no pressure on them. They are likely going to destroy a depleted Orlando team in the first round, which means they’ll be fresh against a Heat team that might have to grind out a series against the Knicks. The problem with Indiana is whether they can score enough. Who is going to make the big shots when it counts?

    • chitownmatt - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:42 AM

      I don’t see the Bulls getting past 2nd round without a healthy Rose.

      Get well soon… Derrick

    • pudgalvin - Apr 20, 2012 at 3:47 PM

      A Miami/Indiana series would be interesting. I still think Miami has too much firepower, but that could be a longer series than Miami would like before a Bulls/Celtics ECF. Assuming seeds stay roughly the same.

  4. wisbadgers13 - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    You realize rip hap the ball right? And that was a foul? How is that something to be proud of? Rip isnt gunna drop the ball and shove him back, r all Heat fans this stupid? Plus u won when we didn’t have Rose so dont act like thats an accomplishment.

    • bils293 - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:30 AM

      dont act like rose will make a difference. theres 5 games left and he still cant play a full game, you bulls fans should be getting worried because the only way you’re even making it to the ecf is if hes at 100% and that doesnt look too likely. if you guys get boston in any round you guys are done

    • hwood305 - Apr 20, 2012 at 2:07 PM

      If my memory serves me correct Miami beat Chicago earlier this year when Rose was healthy & I could be completely wrong on this one but I believe Rose played in the Eastern Conference Finals last year.

    • gmsingh - Apr 21, 2012 at 7:08 PM

      I don’t think scoring only 82 points at home is an accomplishment either. Is that their lowest point total for a home game this year?

  5. thekingdave - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    I feel bad for edweird0, Miami Heat fan, established in 2010.

  6. goddannit - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    I’m not going to make excuses, the Bulls couldn’t hit anything tonight, in part thanks to Miami’s D and in part thanks to terrible execution and flow on the offensive end. The Bulls roll players will do a much better job on their home floor. This will be a great playoff series if Rose can get healthy and if they even meet in the playoffs. I still think the Bulls depth wears down Heat’s big three, but it could go either way. All I know, Wade is the biggest flop artist in the entire league.

  7. lameasish - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    Noah is the biggest rat in the league. Your turn sir…

  8. asublimeday - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    The Heat are an undisciplined joke. This series won’t be nearly as contested as people think. Bulls will run away with it.

    That is, assuming the Heat make it that far.

  9. seattlesuperchronic - Apr 20, 2012 at 6:12 AM

    wirbadgers13

    This may not be the Bulls year, I despise them and fear them when they’re healthy. But “buffalowned” makes a great point. If Rose isn’t healthy enough and they have to play Boston, they’re gonna have a tough time. The Bulls are really good, the entire team, but without Rose not at 100%, it’s gonna be tough.

  10. gmsingh - Apr 20, 2012 at 6:42 AM

    I completely disagree. The Celtics are just too damned old, and the Bulls defense wears entire teams out. That, and every time they meet Thibs seems to outcoach Doc Rivers all over the place. I think with the Bulls injuries they’re not going to have an easy time with any team but I can’t see anything that would make them lose to Boston.

  11. jagwar73 - Apr 20, 2012 at 7:32 AM

    Dwyane Wade = undercover punk!

  12. burm61 - Apr 20, 2012 at 8:03 AM

    Let’s talk about all the “True Miami Heat fans” you guys had a 1 vs 2 matchup at home and the place was half full for most of the game. Pathetic.

    • southbeachtalent - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      Half full? hahahahaha, place was sold out.

      I guess that’s all there is to grasp to at this point.

      • boilerup1869 - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM

        Ehh typical Miami Heat fan comment. Please allow me to clarify for you, @southbeachtalent, and all the other new basketball “fans”.

        In Chicago, when we say a game was “sold out” we are indicating that there was a butt occupying every seat in the stadium during the game.

        We don’t claim sellouts when all the tickets have been sold, but 50% of the paid attendance is dancing to David Guetta songs in the stadium’s new nightclub.

  13. glink123 - Apr 20, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    Wade has some big azz lips.

  14. iowahbr - Apr 20, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    Despite the tone of this piece the Heat must love Carlos B. He was his regular “big game-no show” last nite.

    • southbeachtalent - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:25 AM

      We can always count on Booze…….

    • boilerup1869 - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      He is so worthless — A defensive “zero”.

      And I’ve never seen a man of his size go for so many layups from three feet away. DUNK THE BALL YOU BIG OVERPAID SOFTY.

  15. berto55 - Apr 20, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    It’s pretty clear that Miami is trying to intimidate the Bulls and use ghetto tough guy tactics to do it. The problem for the Bulls is they really are soft (and I’m a Bulls fan) and it probably will work. Seemed like Rose backed down a bit last year in the ECF and they don’t have anyone who is a scrapper anymore on their roster (in the mold of Nocioni, Kurt Thomas, Rodman). Everyone assumes it will be Bulls and Heat in the ECF, which means it probably won’t happen. My Bulls look very vulnerable, hit their peak too early this year, and will have a tough time in any round. Luckily, Wade looks like he is on his last legs and when they stop giving him superstar calls, he’s done.

  16. canehouse - Apr 20, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    @ wisbadger13…. yeah you didn’t have rose… and the Heat didn’t have Bosh. So what’s your point? The players on the floor battled and Miami won… end of discussion. As far hamilton and Wade… hamilton threw an elbow into Wade’s chest… and Wade responded… probably a little too passionate. Wade ain’t going to put up with that garbage. Hopefully we’ll see you in the ECF’s… should be fun to watch!

  17. canehouse - Apr 20, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    @ burm… what game were you watching? Yes early in the first and at the beginning of the third… traffic and parking is brutal around the triple A, and obviously you’ve never been to a game at the triple A… it’s quite the scene near the concessions… don’t worry… it will be very packed to your liking (most likely not) and very loud come playoff time. We know how to get after it when the lights are brighter and the stage is bigger. we will be on time, and less gawking at talent perusing around the concessions during halftime. We will be gawking at Lebron, Wade, Bosh, Chalmers, Haslem, Battier, Miller, and company! The playoffs can’t get here soon enough! Time to get it on!!!!

    • peterloew - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

      @canehouse… so, you’re bragging about having the biggest fair weather fans?! ….”We know how to get after it when the lights are brighter and the stage is bigger.” Those aren’t true fans at all… you just proved @burm ‘s point with your comment.

      I bet you applauded Ozzie for his Castro comments…. wait, you do know you have a baseball team, right?

    • chicitybulls - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      Classic definition of front running/fair weather fans. Good job canehouse. You just confirmed what most basketball fans know about most heat fans.

  18. florida727 - Apr 20, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Been a Bulls fan forever. Grew up in Chicago. Covered them for a radio station in the Jordan years. But I think they’re fragile without Rose. They downplay it, but the reality is, without Rose, they’re just an above-average team, not a true title contender. Rose reminds me of Jordan in the sense that he’s their “bail-out’ player. He’s the one guy capable of creating his own opportunity whenever he wants to, or the team needs him to. Problem for the Bulls is that Miami has TWO of those guys. If they both get there, it’ll be fun to watch the Conference Finals, no doubt.

  19. chitownjeff - Apr 20, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    Enjoy this one Kurt.. just rest Drose and Deng for the playoffs. We’ll see who folds like little girls when the playoff start.. Lebron doesn’t even need to Google map the road from his hands to his throat..

    • bils293 - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:34 AM

      ya keep resting rose, nothing like a rusty rose for the playoffs. thatll help you guys..i also dont remember lebron folding when he took out your bulls in 4 straight last year..maybe win a series against the heat then start talking

      • gmsingh - Apr 21, 2012 at 7:11 PM

        Nothing like having the best coach in basketball for the playoffs, too. Spoelstra will be winning awards any day now, right?

    • southbeachtalent - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      “We’ll see who folds like little girls when the playoff start..”

      Hmmm you mean like the Bulls did in five just a year ago?

      Good Luck against the C’s….

    • hwood305 - Apr 20, 2012 at 2:01 PM

      You mean the same way LeBron choked against the Bulls in the conference Finals a year ago when he lit the Bulls up in the last 5 minutes of the 4th to comeback & win the game/series?

  20. steelerfanforlife - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    So Kurt, it’s playoff basketball when the Heat win but just last week when the Bulls win neither team looked like they should be in the playoffs??!! Ridiculous! Miami is so good at home, Bulls need to hold on for that top spot. These playoffs should be fun!

  21. weimtime - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    Last night reminded me why I hate Pat Riley, DW and LJ and pretty much that whole team. What a bunch of punk babies. That reminded me of a Pat Riley led 90s Knicks team who knew they weren’t better than Jordan’s Bulls’ so they had to get rough and tough and try to outslug the Bulls.

    Sad thing is, the 2012 Bulls are more like the 90s Knicks whereby they have a great team and are talented, but will never be as talented as the Heat. It’s so sad to see such a talented team (Heat) stoop to such low levels to try and “prove a point.”

    The message they sent, whoever it was to, was that they have to beat up an already beaten down Bulls team w/o their best player to win. Congrats. You’re the heroes of the NBA and the world. Can’t wait to see Bosh’s dumb@55 cry after you lose again in the playoffs. You must be so proud.

    • bils293 - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      the only play i really saw that was dirty and unnecessary was the james jones hit on noah, but realistically who hasnt wanted to rock noah at one point or another. the screen from lebron on lucas was pretty hilarious but also something most players would have done when another point guard is sticking to their point guard for full court. deng should have given lucas a heads up for the screen. but in the end it was hilarious to see john lucas rush lebron as if he could possibly do anything

      • peterloew - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM

        How about how LeBron shoved Lucas away from him when he went into his face… all versions of that video have been removed from YouTube for “copyright infringement”… that should have been a technical foul, which would have him ejected from the game. (Never would happen w/ Stern)

      • weimtime - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:05 PM

        No, what was hilarious was how LJ shows his toughness by knocking down a player half his size. And the Wade push of Rip was dirty as well.

        And why does everyone hate Noah? All I see him do is hustle, rebound and play lights out defense.

        You act as if he held every team with cap room hostage and then totally screwed over an ownership team/fan base that loved him. …Not 5…not 6…not 7.

      • bils293 - Apr 20, 2012 at 2:57 PM

        “lebron shoved lucas awar from him when he went into his face”??? of course he did. who WOULDNT do that, if youre going to step to someone twice your size you better be be prepared for something to happen..john lucas is like a little kid running around with grown men

    • southbeachtalent - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      So you hate the 90’s Knicks cause they’re like the Heat, but then they’re like the Bulls? You sir make no sense.

      The Bulls haven’t played with their “superstar” for a while, and they’re still the one seed. Makes Rose seem irrelevant huh?

      • chicitybulls - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM

        Why the quotes over superstar? You question whether he is? The guy has made the All Star team since he’s been in the league. Most former and current players say that he’s the best pg in the game. If you want to debate it then fine but he’s at the very least in the conversation. You can hate him if you want by being a heat fan but you cannot deny his skills.

      • doctordunkenstein - Apr 20, 2012 at 12:56 PM

        the best pg in the game? let me get some of what your smoking. if you said best “tweener, undersized 2 guard that should does not make his teammates better” than maybe. actually nevermind, westbrook is better than him at that too.

      • weimtime - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:08 PM

        Do you guys watch basketball in Miami or do you just show up for the games just to be seen like LA fans? Bulls are 3-4 w/o Rose against over .500 teams. They’ve survived against the lower tier teams of the league w/o Rose.

        Also, the current Bulls are like the 90s Knicks in regards to their talent (90s Bulls didn’t always win the 1st seed) and the heat are like the 90s Knicks based on their physical (or illegal) play.

        Classic Riley influenced team.

      • chicitybulls - Apr 20, 2012 at 7:27 PM

        @drfatkenstein

        The fact that you think westbrook is as good tells me all I need to know. If you wanna say he’s as athletic then we can talk but he’s not as good. Besides I think I’ll take the opinion of NBA hall of famers over some unathletic guy with a fantasy user name. Cool?

  22. jimmymarlinsfan - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    I think it’s embarrassing that the bulls think they even have a chance…it took dirk going on a historic finals run to beat the heat last year…and d-rose cant stay healthy? Sorry nba fans but this is going to be easy for the heat…and please don’t take this as bragging or whatever but the bulls will be getting scorched by heat this coming summer, again

    • weimtime - Apr 20, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      Hahahaha. It’s so cute how you think the Heat are actually going to win a title. Forget the Bulls, they have no shot against the Thunder/Spurs/Lakers in the Finals.

      You guys will get your 1 or 2 championships eventually. But Lebron will go down in history as the biggest waste of basketball talent in history.

      And it’s so funny how you mention Dirk’s “historic finals.” He’s only one player. The Heat supposedly have three players that just have to play normal to win.

      And you also say, “going to be easy for the heat”….That’s epically hilarious b/c Lebron thought the same thing right after he shied away from the challenge in Cleveland.. How many titles does he have???

  23. mbuda732 - Apr 20, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Nobody talking about how dangerous the knicks are in all of this banter…they are playing scary well right now and Melo is scoring more than anybody in the league the last 2 weeks. Novak is one of the most automatic 3 point shooters and spreads the floor tremendously and Tyson Chandler is the favorite to win DPOTY this season now that Howard is going to miss the end of the season. Look out for NYK!

    • southbeachtalent - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      Are you serious?

  24. mikeewright7 - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    DOnt crown HEat and Bulls ECF yet, Im sure Boston and Pacers will upset someone!

  25. dirtybird2020 - Apr 20, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    You can always count on bosh when he goes 1-17 last year, boozer averages are better than bosh if not identical, at 30 mill less, southbeach havent seen ya in a while since your team was beaten by our bench 2 times now, your a fricken tard only come out from under that rock(your mothers basement) when your queer of a team wins a cheap game, miami is gay! Their sports teams are gay, dolphins are what chicks get tattooed on their low back, heat is what women go thru once a month! Miami fans blow! Miami in general blows! Southbeachtalent blows lebron! Clean your self off you got some white stuff on your face!

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