This all series was a LeBron James masterpiece. Forgetting quickly about the loss in Game 1, he averaged 28.5 points the rest of the way. It wasn’t only the numbers, which are always great for LeBron – the defense, the leadrship, the ability to take over the game in the fourth quarter time and time again. He has had many great moments in this post season, but as he said, the 18-3 run he and Wade finished with in Game 5 were the best of his life.
The Miami Heat finished the job with a 83-80 win in Chicago despite being down by 12 points with less than 3 minutes left. The Bulls fans were on their feet. The Heat were on the ropes. The Bulls played amazing defense all night, but didn’t put the hammer down like in Game 1. I thought to myself that if they didn’t build a huge lead in the first half which was completely there’s, they’re going to struggle in the end. Derrick Rose tried to do too much in the closing minutes, alone. The rest of the guys just watched as the team went through a meltdown.
Back to Dwyane Wade, but mostly LeBron James. He was there all night. Not offensively, but on defense, with his ability to change shots and challange almost anything in the paint, mostly Deng and Boozer (who later did his usual dirty move of the night, WWEing James). Those three-pointers from James and Dwyane Wade, three of them in just over minute, killed the Bulls’ chance. Derrick Rose couldn’t tie the game from the line, again. It’s been like that too many times in the big moments this series. It even happened in college, back in ’08.
I don’t think the Heat players realized what happened in those final 2 minutes. Forget Chicago being stunned. The Heat players looked astonished at what they just did, looking at the replays and highlights on the big screen. They couldn’t beat the Bulls in the regular season, but that seems like in another decade. This Miami Heat have the best player in the league, a two time MVP, who’s doing everything so well when the game is on the line. We though the Bulls had more in them, but they’re not ready for this, not yet. They haven’t paid their dues I guess. We know LeBron James has.
He led the Heat in points (28), rebounds (11) and assists (6) last night. It was the 19th time he has led his team in all three categories in a playoff game. No other player has had more than three such playoff games during that span (since 2006, his playoff debut). Just goes to show.
But he wasn’t alone. Bosh finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks. He has been huge in this series. Life with Boozer is better than life with Garnett. About Boozer – Blew it big time. He owes this team and the Bulls fans so much. Five points, no defense and some disgusting fouls along the way (Josh Smith, Tyler Hasnbrough). Rose wasn’t MVP’ish in this series, but he couldn’t win this alone. The man brought to be number 2 blew it. Wade? 21 points. He did have nine turnovers as well, but the good stuff came when it was needed the most.
Udonis Haslem didn’t score a point last night. Mike Miller had 7 off the bench. Despite the unimpressive numbers, Haslem (mostly) and Miller turned the tide, or were a big part of it, in the last couple of games. They changed the whole “Chicago are a deeper team and better bench” by giving something the Heat didn’t have in the regular season and for most of the post season. They weren’t always great, they didn’t always score, but their hustle and defense were top notch all the way. The Bulls, a defense first kind of team, couldn’t find the right adjustments to bring back that game 1 magic again. It fell on Rose’s shoulders, and he got swatted away on the final play by LeBron James. Kind of symbolic, I guess.
Now, the Mavs and Dirk Nowitzki. Jason Terry said that the 2006 series is still very strong and lingering with him and Dirk. It’s in the air, that meltdown. The Mavs beat the Heat twice in the regular season, but that doesn’t mean anything. No one expected Dallas to be here. A lot of people didn’t want the Heat and LeBron to be here. I’m happy for James. It’s not complete vindication and redemption yet, but it’s close. I’ll be happy for Dirk as well, if he makes it, but I would like to see LeBron James do it. I understand why Cavs fan hate him. I never understood why he got so much hate from the rest of country for a long while. I’m pretty sure that when the title ring is on his finger, people will forget about why they did as well.