NBA Playoffs 2011: Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls Post-Game 2 Reaction
The Miami Heat shut down the Chicago bulls down the stretch tonight and pulled away in the fourth quarter as the Miami Heat evened the series one game apiece with the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals.
There were several large difference in the Heat's performance tonight which enabled them to pull out their first victory against Chicago in seven tries.
The following pages will highlight those differences to show how Miami got the big win.
The biggest difference was in their fourth quarter defense in which they only allowed 10 points from the Bulls in the fourth quarter.
The Bulls only scored two field goals int he last 9:48 of the game. The Heat defense closed out the paint, and the Bulls jump shots were coming up short.
The Bulls were ineffective from the field hitting just 28 of 82 shots and only going 3-20 from the three point line.
Without hitting their outside shots the Bulls were not able to make Miami pay for loading up in the lane, and as a result, Derrick Rose struggled, scoring only 21 points on 23 shots.
James and Wade
After scoring just 33 points in the first game, the Heat duo combined for 31 in the first half tonight alone. In the end they combined for 53 points.
Chris Bosh, after scoring 30 points in the Game 1 was held to only 10 tonight. Ironically the total from the big three was the same as Game 1, 63.
The difference was in the defense on the Chicago version of the big three, who only scored 41 points.
The Heat won the "Big 3" battle handily, and that was a big factor in Miami's victory. They just won it on the defensive end more than the offensive end.
The Bulls' energy level was not what it was in Game 1 and the Heat took advantage.
Without the rebounding edge the Bulls were not getting the second-chance points they got in Game 1 and, shooting just .341 from the field, the Bulls weren't able to keep up in the end.
Udonis Haslem brought in scoring, energy and defense into the game and was a key factor off the bench.
The Bulls bench, which had dominated in the four previous performances, only outscored the Heat by three points tonight.
Haslem scored 13, adding five boards and two assists.
The score in this one was not indicative of how close it was. The game was tied with just four minutes left. The early indications are that the key to this series might be the Bulls shooting.
The difference tonight from Chicago's side was 3-20 from three instead of 10-21. Those seven threes were the difference between an 11-point win and a 10-point loss.
I think a key matchup to look at will be the Haslem versus Taj Gibson match for the remainder of the series. It may be whoever wins the matchup will be the winner of the game.
Miami can feel good about themselves because they finally got a win against Chicago, and now they've stolen home court from the Bulls.
Chicago can actually feel good because in a game where they shot just .341 from the field, had a pretty bad night from Derrick Rose and lost the rebound battle, they were still tied with the Heat with just four minutes left in a game which was far more important to the Heat than to the Bulls.
Chicago is now in the same position as Miami was. They need to take one of two on the road to get back home court. They are 3-2 on the road so far in the postseason. Miami has not lost a home game.
I expect a split, but it's tough to say which game will go which way. It will come down to Chicago's shooting. If they can hit their shots they'll win Game 3. If they don't, Miami will win again.