The Miami Heat are usually the ones reigning alley-oop jams on the heads of their opponents. On Wednesday night, Jimmy Butler turned the tables.
Who was Jimmy Buckets’ victim?
Chris Bosh was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and the slam was indicative of the Heat’s struggles in the game.
When the Heat are at their best, they ignite the home crowd, or silence opposing teams’ fans with lobs.
On this night, the shoe was on the other foot.
Most of all, through the Heat's remarkable streak, they have really been dominant in the second half of games.
The alley-oop occurred in the third quarter with the Heat having made a run, but still trailing 62-61.
The slam not only gave the Bulls a 64-61 lead, but it was also one of the impacting moments in the second half.
Producing the tide-shifting second-half plays is something teams haven’t been able to do against the Heat for 27 games in a row.
The Bulls, who are obviously still playing without Derrick Rose, were also without Joakim Noah, Marco Belinelli and Richard Hamilton—for whatever the latter has been worth—and they still pulled off the win to snap the Heat’s 27-game win streak.
Butler has had a very nice season for the Bulls. He has more than doubled his production in every major statistical category since last season.
I contend that with a more consistent outside shot (he went 2-of-4 from three-point range last night) he could make Luol Deng expendable for the salary-cap-strapped Bulls.
Butler had 17 points, Deng had 28 and Carlos Boozer had 21 points and 17 rebounds.
This was just one game, so I wouldn’t ever imply that this win means the Bulls would beat the Heat in a playoff series. Miami is still the best team in the NBA.
At this point for the Bulls, getting beyond the first round is not a given because of their injuries.
But they played with tremendous effort and confidence in this game, and no play better exemplified their triumph and the Heat’s struggles on Wednesday than Butler's highlight-reel slam.
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