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Feisty Bulls refuse to go quietly, but Heat comeback closes out series

May 15, 2013, 11:08 PM EDT

Heat's James drives past Bulls' Joakim Noah during the fourth quarter in Game 5 of their NBA Eastern Conference semi-final basketball playoff in Miam Reuters

You knew the Bulls were not just going concede the series to the Heat.

Well, maybe you didn’t think that when Miami raced out to a 22-4 lead to open Game 5 Wednesday, but these Bulls quit as often as a T-1000 Terminator. All playoffs they have had reasons to give up because of injuries, but they didn’t. They could have rolled over Wednesday down 18 early, but they wouldn’t. Chicago went on a 49-25 run, took the lead back in the middle of the second quarter and didn’t surrendered it until the middle of the fourth.

However talent and the athletic Heat defense won out. Miami held Chicago to 14 points on 33.3 percent shooting in the fourth quarter, got some big plays from the hobbled Dwyane Wade and reserve guard Norris Cole, then held on for a dramatic 94-91 win.

The Heat take the series 4-1 and now await the winner of the Pacers/Knicks series. The Pacers are up 3-1 and if they close it out Thursday night they will tip off against Miami Monday night. If the Knicks push the series to six (or seven) games the Eastern Conference finals tip off next Wednesday (Miami has home court against both teams).

LeBron James led the Heat with 23 points, but he shot just 5-of-14 on the night as Jimmy Butler played him tough. Which is a good nod to Butler, LeBron will probably be happy to see him go. Of course, that is Paul George waiting in the wings to guard LeBron next series and he is playing even better than Butler lately.

Miami came out with a real energy to open the game and their offense just flowed — they were moving the ball, spacing the floor, the tempo was up and guys were knocking down looks. Udonis Haslem was at the heart of that of that going 4-of-4 shooting for 8 points.

But that is when the Bulls turned on an energy they lacked in Game 4 in front of their own fans, while the Heat seemed to relax. Carlos Boozer was literally in the middle the turnaround, scoring inside rather than settling and he had 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Nate Robinson had 14 and hit a couple deep threes, and Butler had 10 and gave the Bulls the lead with a three in the second.

Meanwhile the Heat were just average because their role players did not step up — Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen and Shane Battier combined for 6 points on 13 shots and were 0-7 from three. Actually, it wasn’t just the role players, LeBron was scoreless in the second as well.

LeBron asserted himself in the third with nine points, but the Bulls kept making shots and it was 77-69 Chicago after three. The Heat were going to need better defense.

And they got it.

Chicago missed contested shots (and some open ones) while Miami’s cold shooters warmed up. Shane Battier hit a big three.

Then Norris Cole happened — he has played well enough this series to make Erik Spoelstra rethink starting Mario Chalmers. Cole hit a jumper to give the Heat the lead.

Then Cole drove the lane for a dunk that brought the AmericanAirlines Arena to life.

Dwyane Wade then started making plays — a couple of runners in the lane and an impressive putback dunk. It must have been the shoes: Wade was 4-of-10 in the first three quarters and looked off but changed shoes before the start of the fourth and went 3-for-3 shooting.

Still the Bulls had their chances — down three with time for one last shot both Robinson and Butler had looks at three to tie but their shots missed.

Eventually, talent won out. In this game and in this series.

But the Bulls pushed he Heat and their effort and style may have laid out a blueprint for the Pacers to follow in the Eastern Conference finals (the Knicks, if they make it, play a very different style).

  1. reddolfan66 - May 15, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    That’s how u grab a bull by its horns!! Go HEAT!!8 more wins to go…

    • deavn - May 16, 2013 at 1:26 AM

      Wow, so clever. Last time I heard that one I fell off my dinosaur.

    • WatchThis - May 16, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      Bulls just couldn’t take their own medicine (i.e. tough play). Nor could they consistently dish out the tough play. They looked gassed 2 games.

  2. ptestonm - May 15, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    yeah with the blueprint the Pacers could actually win 2 games

  3. spthegr8 - May 15, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    Bulls made them work as everybody knew they would. Tibbs is one of the BEST in the league.!! But the Heat are SCARY GOOD!!! They can beat you in so many different ways. They have won 45 out of their last 48!!!!!! Good GAAAAAWD!!! Im not a Heat fan but I love basketball & what they are doing is just F’N CRAZY!!! Just give them the O’brien now. The conf finals & NBA finals are just a formality!!

  4. musician0785 - May 15, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    Tom Thibodeau the real coach of the year, and I’m a Laker fan

    • pantsfreezone - May 16, 2013 at 12:01 AM

      Yeah, he coached his team into the hospital. Thibs needs to learn how to take his foot off the gas once in a while. Running only 6 guys tonight when you know your team is gassed. Not using Rip Hamilton at all until the last two games. Letting Carlos Boozer play. These are not good coaching decisions.

      Good job, good effort, Chicago. Ending your season > Ending our streak.

      • musician0785 - May 16, 2013 at 3:45 AM

        so Thibs coached Luol Deng into meningitis? I wasnt aware….

    • philadelphiafan - May 16, 2013 at 1:15 AM

      You say that like D’Antoni won coach of the year…

    • hehateme2 - May 16, 2013 at 7:27 AM

      Thibideau is a punk and coaches his players to be punks. Look at that choke hold on the MVP in the picture. Is that a basketball move? No.

      I realize they were hopefully overmatched by a superior team but the ugly coaching and attitude has left me with no respect for the once goof bulls.
      This series wasn’t close and the Heat got bored last night. On to bigger and better things for Miami.

  5. bigwii - May 15, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    They so just beat the Bulls without two of their best 3 players. Not saying the Heat wouldn’t have won but its like saying someone beat the Hear without LeBron and Wade.

    Heat fans don’t count out Memphis or Indiana they’re a lot better than you think. Indiana doesn’t have Granger but they’re still solid and they’re the best rebounding team left and the best at defending the 3.

    Just loom at how they make JR Smith and Melo look. It’s going to be a good series. It’s not a lock the Heat win. They’ll win in 6 or 7 but it’ll be tough.

    I can’t wait until next year when Rose, Granger, Rondo, and Westbrook are back it definitely will be interesting. The Heat got it this year but laugh if you want the East will be very interesting next year.

    To all the Heat fans who constantly bash other teams and make fun of everyone how come anyone that says anything about the Heat is a “hater,” hypocrites.

    • realbrasil80 - May 15, 2013 at 11:51 PM

      Hater.

    • jimmymarlinsfan - May 16, 2013 at 2:38 AM

      For me,
      It’s because LBJ is quite simply that much better than anyone else playing the game right now. Bosh is a high level all star and when Wade is fully healthy, he is as well. The role players are doing what is expected of them if not more. Erik Spoelstra is a top 5 coach in this league right now and he is mentored well by Pat Riley. The Heat also have an owner in Micky Arison to spend the max on payroll and help to keep the Heat competitive. Since 1995, the Seasom Arison purchased the team and hired Riley, the Heat have had 3 losing season. As Heat fans, as NBA fans, sometimes it’s just easy to see which is the best team in the world. But maybe this is all just me……

      • jimeejohnson - May 16, 2013 at 8:58 PM

        From one Jimee to another: excellent!

    • beachsidejames - May 16, 2013 at 2:58 PM

      Wade is hurt too but played through it. Rose played cheerleader when he was cleared to play months ago. Fact is Chicago tried the bully tactic and the stood up to them without the cheap shots that the Bulls did. Starts with their coach. Wasn’t smart enough to use Hamilton and that gassed his team even more.

  6. iowahbr - May 15, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    2011 Bulls lose 4 to1 in ECF to Heat with Rose. 2013 Bulls lose to Heat in EC semis 4 to 1 without Rose. I am no LJ fan but he is best player right now in the NBA. As always in 4th quarter Bulls had terrible trouble getting a decent shot off. Am I missing something?

  7. bigwii - May 16, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    The Bulls are better than they were then just like LeBron and the Heat were then too he is the best and the Heat are the best team. All I’m saying is it would be different if teams were healthy.

    • kinggw - May 16, 2013 at 1:14 AM

      Doubtful. The Bulls had their best chance to dispatch the Heat in 2011. Every year the Heat grow more comfortable with each other and will get harder and harder to beat. Rose and Deng will be back along with Kukoc 2.0 (Mirotic), but I don’t see how they take the next step and overtake the Heat, or Pacers for that matter.

    • badintent - May 16, 2013 at 2:46 AM

      ” The Heat are who we thought they were and we let them off the hook ” Tibs

  8. glink123 - May 16, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    “In related news, Derrick Rose tells reporters he still isn’t ruling out a return in these playoffs. Said Rose, ‘It’s in God’s hands right now. Only God knows’.”

    • chicitybulls - May 16, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      You really do have an obsession with Rose dont you? What’s wrong? Did you Delonte West your moms or something?

      • beachsidejames - May 16, 2013 at 3:01 PM

        Chitybullsinachitycity

  9. patfic15 - May 16, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    Hopefully D Rose is back by next years’ playoffs. Can’t be too safe!!

  10. snoqualmieterry - May 16, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    Mark my words, the Malloofs will screw it up. If they wanted the Seattle group to win, they wouldn’t of accepted a backup offer from the Sac. Group. That move cost them a boatload of money. Those crooks need to return Hansons 30 million.

  11. jjones314 - May 16, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    The Heat are not locks to win it all.

    Stop it. THEY HAVE NO SIZE. Any team with bigs that are decent i.e. Indy, Memphis, San Antonio…can beat em.

    • deeballer - May 16, 2013 at 1:06 AM

      What about depth? Will Indys starting 5 play the whole game?

      • davidly - May 16, 2013 at 7:10 AM

        If it were down to depth, Indy’d have the upper hand. It’s not, though. It’s down to rotations, and Miami has the stronger core + rollplayers who’ve jelled into the offense, something I didn’t think would happen when they brought together the big three.

        I wish the Pacers could win, would like to see them win, and am not counting them out. But the greater likelihood, in my opinion, is Heat in 7.

        Either way, I think Memphis’ chances are pretty good.

    • realbrasil80 - May 16, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Its not always about size. just ask your wife

  12. kb2408 - May 16, 2013 at 12:56 AM

    Noooo, jjones314, let the Heat fans plan their parades already. That way when they lose to Indy it will be that much sweeter. Everything you said is correct. The teams that are left, other than G.S. have exactly what it takes to beat the beat the Heat. Their fans act like Miami is the second coming of the MJ led Bulls, or the Magic led Lakers. In reality they are a very flawed team with one great player. Those flaws are going to become glaring now that they’re about to face a team that can expose them.

    • deeballer - May 16, 2013 at 1:04 AM

      Wishful thinking.

    • hehateme2 - May 16, 2013 at 7:31 AM

      You’re a sick demented person. Clearly you have issues with reality. Enjoy losing.

  13. 00maltliquor - May 16, 2013 at 1:47 AM

    More then just hats off to the 2012-13 Chicago Bulls. I tip my entire upper torso to this amazing TEAM. Who knows how far the Bulls could have gone with a completely healthy team the last two playoffs. LeBron James and the Heat are lucky (kind of, sort of). The Bulls at 100% may have very well made the Finals. Team with so much heart Rudy T and the Tin Man would be proud.

    Next year I will be pulling hard for them as far as out East is concerned. Last 3 years I have been about the Pacers and this year Knicks, but man oooh man the Bulls are something special with their ragamuffin patchwork team. Hopefully they bring back all their key guys.

    Basketball gods: LEAVE THE DAMN BULLS ALONE NEXT SEASON/PLAYOFFS!!!

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 16, 2013 at 6:40 AM

      All good points, but in a hypothetical Heat/Bulls series where the Bulls get to be 100% healthy, do the Heat get to be 100% healthy too?

      I remember when the Bulls (and Celtics and Lakers) were in their heyday, and the Heat would put up valiant efforts, even holding leads in the 2nd half, but everyone knew how the games would end because the Bulls were great, they were winners, and were somehow goung to win. And they did almost every time. Nobody deducted style points from the Bulls back then or criticized them for only winning by 30 twice in a series. nor should they have.

  14. breastfedted - May 16, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    Yawn. Why even continue the playoffs? We all know the NBA is fixed and they’re just going to hand the title to Lebron and the Heat anyway.

    • jimeejohnson - May 16, 2013 at 9:02 PM

      Most think you’re lying.

  15. jbeagles23 - May 16, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    And davidly wins dumbest post of the day saying the pacers have more depth than the heat

    • davidly - May 16, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      In their head to head matchups the Pacers bench outscored the Heat 76 to 47, out-rebounded them 38 to 23, had twice as many steals and a higher assist to turnover ratio. Unfortunately, the starters ‘ll be logging more minutes in these games. For both teams.

  16. pacersfan1 - May 16, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Lebron and Wade flop more then a fish out of water. And for all of you front running Heat fans don’t start crying about the refs when the pacers D shuts the heat down just like they are with the Knicks. Pacers were built not bought GO PACERS!!!!

  17. cosme27 - May 16, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    Pacerfan1, so what happened last year?

    • pacersfan1 - May 16, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Keep living in the past. I hope you understand that it really does not matter what happened last year. Its all about the now.

  18. slystone111 - May 16, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    LeBron is such a choker. MVP in the regular season, but sucks come playoff time.

  19. jbeagles23 - May 16, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    The pacers will come in bangin their chest like Chicago did and see the same results

    • pacersfan1 - May 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      Keep telling yourself that if it will make you fill better. Pacers are a better team then last year and they will show the heat that after they deal with the Knicks.

  20. jbeagles23 - May 16, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    One type of team is built o beat the heat ( see dal in the finals two years ago and ny I. This regular season) a team that can continuously bang out double digit threes

  21. chicitybulls - May 16, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    So proud of my Bulls team. Without 3 of their best 4 or 5 players and got out of the first round and played the heat tough. Made them earn every win except game 2. Get healthy and a tinker here and there and this team will be a force to be dealt with for years to come.

    • heat256 - May 16, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      Game 4 was a blowout too.

  22. jdvalk - May 16, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Favorite part of the night was the espn header “Rose: difference in series?” No, the absence of the 2011 MVP made no difference. In no universe would anything similar been even contemplated by the insular geniuses running sportscenter had Kebron been out…

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