Derrick Rose had an awful night. He didn’t even get to play in crunch time. But the Chicago Bulls, on a night in which Rose made only one field goal, didn’t need him. The Miami Heat had all big three firing all cylinders, but nothing else, and the Bulls’ depth and outside shooting was more than enough to handle Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, winning 96-86.
So how good were the big three? Dwyane Wade put on quite a show in his hometown, finishing with 21 points, before missing a potentially game winning shot, instead going into overtime, where the Heat managed to score only two points. LeBron James was great with 30 points, but missed a crucial free throw in the fourth. Chris Bosh finished with 20 as well.
As for Chicago, it was more proof of how they don’t need a superstar to win. How they’ve improved and grown this since, almost half of it without Derrick Rose, the 2011 MVP. Rose was awful and rusty with his shooting, going 1-13 from the field, finishing with 2 points and 8 assists. Tim Thibodeau isn’t your ordinary NBA coach, and the Bulls don’t play ordinary NBA basketball. Rose was benched when the game was on the line, with CJ Watson taking over, with some big shots, finishing with 16 points and 9 assists.
But there were so many ‘heroes’ for the Bulls on a night both teams tried to downplay. More like boxers feeling each other out for the third time this season, knowing that they’ll probably have to go a few rounds in the postseason. Kyle Korver was perfect at what he does – roll off screens and bury threes, contested or not. He hit five from beyond the arc, finishing with 17 points.
It was the bench in general, outscoring the Heat’s bench 47-7. No one took shots on the Heat team other than their three All-Stars. With the Bulls, you didn’t know who was taking a shot next. Carlos Boozer led with 19 points and 11 rebounds, but he was at his best with a couple of nice assists to Noah and the game tying shot to Watson, that sent the game into overtime.
And then there’s the aftermath. What do we learn, what do both teams learn. I think the Miami Heat got a reality check regarding their defense and their style. They won’t be able to win without a fourth and fifth guy stepping up. And they can’t rely on their athleticism and speed to cover for leaving men open when helping out. Offensively, Spoelstra needed to take a long look at what the Bulls were doing. Hardly any isolation moves, and constant motion, eventually creating open shots.
The Heat don’t make enough plays like that. When LeBron James sees people moving around, he’ll find the open ones. Problem is it’s usually him dribbling while everyone else waits on the wing for something to happen. Nothing good, in the long run, will come out of that.