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Bulls push back but can’t stop Heat stars… Cole and Bosh? Yup. Heat get win.

May 10, 2013, 11:50 PM EDT

Heat's James celebrates with teammate Cole after Cole made a basket against the Bulls during Game 3 of their NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals basketball playoff series in Chicago Reuters

You knew the Chicago Bulls were going to be ready to fight… Nazr Mohammed may have taken that too literally and was ejected for shoving LeBron James to the ground. Still, this is what you expected from the Bulls.

You also know LeBron James is going to get his if he wants them. And in a game where it felt like he coasted for about 45 minutes he still had 25 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists on Friday night. After a slow start he hit a deep three and got a fantastic and-1 late in the game.

But to win in the playoffs you need your second, your third options to step up, and that’s why the Heat have… Norris Cole?

It worked for one game. Cole had 18 points and hit 3-of-3 from three, plus played some solid defense. Chris Bosh had 20 points and 19 rebounds.

LeBron, Bosh and Cole made the Heat the steadier team down the stretch and helped lift the Heat to a 104-94 win in Game 3. That gives the Heat a 2-1 series lead heading into Game 4 Monday in Chicago.

Despite all their efforts the Bulls just can’t slow the Heat offense — Miami had 120.6 points per 100 possessions, which is 20 points higher than the Bulls allowed on average in the regular season. Miami shot 60 percent in Game 2 and 50 percent in Game 3.

A large part of that was that the Heat attacked and with that got to the foul line 30 times, hitting 26. That’s a lot of free points. (The Bulls had 25 attempts but hit just 17.)

From the start this game had plenty of intensity, and once again that boiled over into a few technical fouls — Joakim Noah got one for shoving Chris Anderson off the top of Nate Robinson after a foul that knocked both to the ground.

But the one everybody will be talking about came in the middle of the second quarter.

LeBron was bringing the ball up in a transition and Nazr Mohammed decided to wrap LeBron up and foul him 40 feet from the basket (it was a “Euro foul” to stop the fast break, the Bulls have done that a number of times this series). LeBron pushes him off and gets a technical instantly from Joey Crawford for it. Then Mohammed comes back with the unnecessary retaliation — a two-hand shove to LeBron’s chest and knocks him down. Mohammed got the flagrant 2 ejection.

The crowd loved it. They were fired up. But the Bulls lost the guy that spells Noah and they could lose him for another game if there is a suspension coming from the league office. And if you don’t think that mattered watch the more tired Noah not be quite quick and energetic enough to make plays during the Heat’s late run.

Chicago got offensive balance with all five starters in double figures, led by Carlos Boozer’s 21.

This game was back and forth most of the way — it was 85-83 Heat with 4:00 left — but the Heat executed better down the stretch.

Cole had a driving lay-up and later a key three.  Bosh was sinking free throws, blocking a Marco Belinelli shot, and hitting a driving layup off a cut. LeBron hit a deep pull-up three, then hit an and-1 where the Bulls played it perfectly with Jimmy Butler pushing LeBron to help, the help was there and it didn’t matter. Because LeBron does that. Combine that with the made free throws and it was too much.

This is what we expected from the series — the Bulls would scrap and put up a fight but it would just not be enough.

But you know the Bulls will show up ready to go hard again in Game 4

  1. 1972wasalongtimeago - May 10, 2013 at 11:55 PM


    Need a drink.


    • badintent - May 11, 2013 at 12:11 AM

      Need a double, a steak and Ginger.

    • cantonbound13 - May 11, 2013 at 5:28 AM

      Don’t forget to flush.

      • miamatt - May 11, 2013 at 10:50 AM

        LOL now THAT was worth posting, CB13! I’m surprised at all the knee-jerk thumbs down, Even I have to admit that was funny.

  2. carolinabluesince95 - May 10, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Joey Crawford and co. show us once again their strong referee skills.

    • melkipershero - May 11, 2013 at 12:04 AM

      I really thought it wasn’t as horrible as a typical Joey Crawford game.. until crunch time.

      This is why people hate the NBA. MJ’s Bulls got calls as did the early 2000 Lakers. I think it was 2001 (could be wrong) Game 6 vs. the Kings that the refs GAVE the Lakers 25ish free throws in the 4th quarter alone.. look it up on youtube.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 11, 2013 at 12:08 AM

        You mean the block on Battier that fouled him out? Damn, you sucked me in

        Really tjough, i Can’t say enough about the Bulls. They really played us well. Gotta hand it to them. Tough team.

      • melkipershero - May 11, 2013 at 12:13 AM

        It was over by then. Agreed though I hate charges and that was obvious. On TV one of the guys said that ref hates calling charges.

        Also Lebron not getting that clear path foul was pretty terrible. It went both ways really.

      • melkipershero - May 11, 2013 at 12:15 AM

        I’ve said this a million times

        If you don’t understand NBA refs suck I’m not sure what you’re watching or why you’re watching if it’s the first excuse you go to.

    • gmsingh - May 11, 2013 at 3:18 PM

      Agreed–I lost count how many times Van Gundy said “that wasn’t a foul.” These games are completely fixed. It’s really as shame, because the Heat/Bulls rivalry is the best thing going in sports. But the outcome is clearly predetermined.

  3. pantsfreezone - May 11, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    Chicago fans can whine about the refs all they want, and we know they are going to, but they should be whining about the stupidity of their players instead. (Oh, and you got every charge/block call including two on Battier that were obvious charges so just shut up.)

    The Bulls have no depth, so why is Nazr Mohammed fouling LeBron 50 feet from the basket and then shoving him to the ground? Dumb.

    Joakim Noah, who pushes more than any player out there, pushes Birdman after a perfectly clean play because he’s got no brains. Dumb.

    Nate Robinson cheering for meaningless plays. Dumb.

    Not stopping Norris Cole, who is a badass mofo who don’t take no gruff from nobody. Dumb.

    • hehateme2 - May 11, 2013 at 7:43 AM

      You are correct, the bulls are just a dumb team. Dumb and desperate and not talented enough to be on the same court with the World Champpppppppppppppppppppps.

      Who’s next?

  4. melkipershero - May 11, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    Lebron came up pretty clutch. Hitting all his free throws and that huge 3 and a few good passes. Of course since they didn’t lose there won’t be haters on here calling him a choker. Not his best game but he came up when it mattered.

  5. badintent - May 11, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    Donating $10 to Bosh for buying new jewerly. He finally maned up. Guess he got sick and tired of my Posh Bosh soft comments. Good for him. Better bring his A game for Tyson

    • rickyspanish - May 11, 2013 at 2:42 AM

      Nice to see that you don’t just hate to be a hater.

      • rawgator06 - May 11, 2013 at 8:27 AM

        Yea.. I am sure that after playing a basketball game, Bosh comes home to read your idiotic comments. Also, I dont think that Tyson is on the Pacers

  6. whoisferg - May 11, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    awww…Bulls fans feel cheated by Joey Crawford…waaaaaah! Cry me a river…seriously. Yes, I am certain the NBA is SOOOOOO fixed they felt like there was no way for the overly talented Miami Heat to beat the under manned Chicago Bulls, so the fix was in.

    Nazr Mohammed? Really? I was watching this game and couldn’t believe Nazr Mohammed was still in the NBA. He rarely got off the bench when he played for the Hawks 25 years ago. Come on NBA fans!!!! THE BETTER TEAM WON! No shenanigans by the refs. Miami is better than Chicago. Its not even close. The fix wasn’t in, because even on a night when LeBron played “bad” he still put up 25-8-7. He is better than every one else. That’s it.

    • melkipershero - May 11, 2013 at 12:16 AM

      Lebron’s “bad” is better than everyone else’s “good” but maybe 5 guys.

  7. casualcommenter - May 11, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    Good stuff for the Bulls: Having their best offensive player – Boozer be aggressive.
    Jimmy Butler’s and Taj Gibson’s defense on Wade and LeBron.
    Marco Bellinelli’s outside shooting.

    Bad stuff for the Bulls: Nazr getting ejected after successfully drawing a technical foul on LeBron James by stupidly pushing LeBron after a whistle blew right in front of a referee. I don’t care if LeBron probably could’ve/should’ve stayed upright. Nazr was stupid and got penalized for being stupid instead of walking away after getting a technical foul called on LeBron.

    Noah’s technical foul was also stupid – Andersen was getting off Nate. I hate fake tough-guy stuff.

    Good stuff for the Heat: Norris Cole and Chris Bosh were their 2 best players. Cole outplayed the Bulls’ backcourt, and Bosh out-hustled Noah when it came to rebounds. I don’t believe it either.
    LeBron in the final 5 minutes was very impressive.

    Bad stuff for the Heat: Something’s wrong with Wade. It’s not his mindset to be content with just 7 shot attempts in an entire game.
    Ray Allen was completely cold.
    LeBron struggled with his jumper and drives to the rim until the final 5 minutes.

    Bulls outplayed the Heat this game but lost due to a collapse down the stretch.
    Heat outplayed the Bulls in game 1 but lost due to a collapse down the stretch.
    It’s a legit 2-1 series, which is impressive for the Bulls all things considered.

    I’d say the return of a healthy Derrick Rose could swing this series in the Bulls’ favor with Wade clearly hurting, but whatever, Rose has made his choice… (or not)

  8. deshackle - May 11, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    Too much flopping, phantom calls, and work stoppages.

  9. golfrangeman - May 11, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    These teams are obviously playing for different things. Heat are playing to win a championship, Bulls are playing just to beat the Heat. Watch the post game press conference too much bitching by Chicago. You want to beat them beat um the court. Their just trying to bait them into getting ejected and the Heat aren’t falling for it.

  10. jmet11 - May 11, 2013 at 1:30 AM

    Here is a simple formula for those who are complaining about the free throw disparity/refs… If you take it to the dang rim you get more calls.. Also, if every fastbreak you get intentionally fouled you’re obviously going to get more free throws. Don’t blame the heat for playing fast breaks clean.

    • Kurt Helin - May 11, 2013 at 2:16 AM

      The free throw difference was 5. That’s not a disparity. Miami just bothered to hit theirs.

      • gmsingh - May 11, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        Kurt, you’re a clown. The refs *attacked* Jimmy Butler and Bellinelli with fouls. Van Gundy said the foul calling was bogus over and over and over. Previously, Steve Kerr said the exact same thing, concluding “Taj has every right to be angry.” These games should even be close, except that Chicago refuses to roll over and die despite being decimated by injuries. It really ruins the whole thing when every single game appears to have bogus officiating.

        Look what just happened in baseball: an umpire got suspended for doing something boneheaded. Every other team has officiating that’s credible, and in the NBA you have the announcers on national television broadcasts telling us something is wrong. It’s disappointing that you’re such a weasel that you’re afraid to see a fair contest between the two teams.

        Last point: go back and check every single game the Bulls played against the Heat with LeBron and the team and see if they EVER had more trips to the foul line. The fix is in.

      • Kurt Helin - May 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        Why is it easier for fans of teams that lose to believe in conspiracies than to think their team just got beat by a more talented team? It’s fans of every team that do not win a playoff series. It’s a tedious part of every playoffs.

      • gmsingh - May 12, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        Here you go: a) the Heat are the only ones with flagrants, yet the Bulls are the only ones with ejections, b) How many times do you have to hear professional announcers say “that wasn’t a foul” before you wake up and smell the coffee?, c) The obvious metric is the trips to the foul line, which are *always* in the Heat’s favor. d) The NBA is the only pro sport where the officials are criticized like this. Why?

      • gmsingh - May 11, 2013 at 3:29 PM

        That should read “every other sport”, not “every other team”.

  11. dbones750 - May 11, 2013 at 2:21 AM

    Rose might as well retire. Playing in the east is futile.

    • 2difshoe - May 11, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      Derrick Rose – C O W A R D.

      Cleared to return 2 months ago, but nope !

      With a healthy starting 5 for the Bulls, the Bulls are capable of beating Miami.

      Rose and his wimpyness , may well cost the team this series.

      They call Rose a team leader ? Not so much …. This is Noah’s team now, as he has well earned it.

  12. dbones750 - May 11, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    If it was rigged the bulls would have won at home to extend the series. More games = more dollars.

  13. mudhead123 - May 11, 2013 at 2:51 AM

    Do you all seriously like basketball? It’s a sport for uneducated people

    • badintent - May 11, 2013 at 3:09 AM

      so , you’re over qualified , eh ?

      • eventhorizon04 - May 11, 2013 at 3:37 AM

        His name is “mudhead” followed by “123.”

        Why wouldn’t you guess he’s well-educated? At the very least, his username demonstrates that he knows how to count from 1 to 3.

      • badintent - May 13, 2013 at 1:09 AM

        I laughed so hard , I cried for several minutes on yoursecond reply . !! PBT quote of the week, and month !!I can’t stop laughing !!Happy Mothers day to your Mom.!

    • eventhorizon04 - May 11, 2013 at 3:44 AM

      I’m going to teach you a good rule of thumb to follow.

      You see the banner up top labeled, “ProBasketball Talk?”
      Odds are, most of the people who read a blog called “ProBasketball Talk” like basketball.

      Likewise, if you click the tab for “ProFootball Talk,” most of the readers you find at that blog will like football.

      And if you click on the tab for “ProHockey Talk,” you’ll enter a blog where a lot of readers like hockey.

      Now, I know for a guy like you, that’s probably very difficult to understand, but I’m sure with years of studying and hard work, you’ll eventually reach the point where you don’t have to ask readers at a blog named, “ProBasketball Talk” if they like basketball. You’ll be able to figure it out on your own.

      Your parents most likely don’t believe in you when it comes to intellectual endeavors, and there’s some justification for them feeling that way, but don’t let that discourage you! Just keep working hard.

      • mydoghasfleez - May 11, 2013 at 12:56 PM

        Excellent reply eventhorizon. Best one I’ve seen in a long time.
        Only change I would have made is: If you are a fight fan, go to ProHockeyTalk.

  14. jmet11 - May 11, 2013 at 3:22 AM

    @Kurt Helin .. I was more referring to the disparity over the course of the series (which maybe still isn’t disparity as it is only Miami +9 for FTA). The bulls fans seem to be blaming the refs for every loss and my frustration bubbled to that point haha

    • Kurt Helin - May 11, 2013 at 10:38 AM

      At this point in the season fans of pretty much every team that loses blame the referees for the loss. Happens every time.

  15. txnative61 - May 11, 2013 at 4:00 AM

    None other than Celtic great Bill Russell long ago identified officiating as the weakest link having the least interest vested in the NBA. Nevertheless the option has always existed to purposely learn to play in the most legal fashion possible to avoid fouls, and highlight official inequity. Of course practice to bring maximum punishment to the opponent by way of free throws would enhance this strategy. Fans of teams endorsing the prevailing strategy’s endorsing illegal play as necessary to compete should have the grace to eschew complaint. At least until Perfect officials can be found.

  16. doctordunkenstein - May 11, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    Ever since Nate got in Norris Coles face and talked all that smack early in game 2, cole has been on fire and outplaying Robinson. Keep on talking Nate!!!

  17. pistolpete0903 - May 11, 2013 at 5:17 AM

    The defense is still top class…but now with Deng out you could clearly see them struggling on offense.
    Nate is a baller, but can’t carry this team offensively.
    C’mon Rose, just play a few minutes in Game 4. Atleast will give them an emotional boost.

  18. jbeagles23 - May 11, 2013 at 7:27 AM

    Nate and Noah clappin on every ply is getting ridiculous . Noah is the worst and now dumbest player I’ve we watched. His whole game is a joke Got outplayed by bosh bad

  19. lemfax - May 11, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    They can win the series – the bulls yeah. If they have rose, deng, Heinrich and even Mohammed. But the reality is not, all they got is emotion, angry, sometimes jealousy that turned them to play dirty. Wake up guys play the right game… Win or loss and you will be proud of your self. Not like this one.

    • finsfan71 - May 11, 2013 at 8:01 AM

      Bulls couldn’t beat Heat when Rose had two good knees in the playoffs. Heinrich is a good player but hardly the difference-maker needed to pass the Heat. Tibs is an awesome coach, if the get a true second option to Rosé then watch out.

  20. jbeagles23 - May 11, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    Tyson is as soft as boozer

    • mydoghasfleez - May 11, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      Tyson & Boozer are both very good ballers. They just have not accepted this current “I’m a badass
      m-fer” mentality that seems to be in vogue in the NBA.

      But neither of their teams can beat-the-Heat in a series in the playoffs.

  21. jbeagles23 - May 11, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    I hope the Knicks win because the pacers are real tough inside and not in a dirty way plus they can score. They’ll compete with the heat. The Knicks however are soft and just jack up shots

  22. commonday - May 11, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    I’m a heat fan but I try to be neutral on my comments. Two things had happened for no reason .. 1 – Noah’s push 2 – Mohammed’s foul (the first one). Take those two moves out of the game and it would have just been a hard fought game. Bulls need to be mentally smarter for their team. Selfish actions that may have caused them the game.

  23. mungman69 - May 11, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Chicago can’t play a clean game. That’s a shame.

  24. iowahbr - May 11, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    It was a good game and the Bulls played as well as they could. Even Boozer gave his best.
    Next year when Rose comes back they put up an even better fight and still lose to the Heat by 2 or 3 in the 4th quarter unless some current Heat layer is injured. Thibs better call for a this Saturday free throw practice .

  25. jjones314 - May 12, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    Yea the games are fixed….only when Miami wins. If they would’ve lost, people would blame it on LBJ.

    When they win, play smart and LBJ dominates the 4th idiots claim “it’s fixed”


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