Chris Andersen. The Birdman. The Human Tattoo. Whatever, you want to call him, the Birdman (I prefer Birdman) was probably the most important player for the Heat tonight. While LeBron James had 24 points and Dwayne Wade had 22, Birdman hustled hard, grabbing important rebounds (he had three offensive boards) and even finishing with a little finesse.
After a very offensively challenged first half for the Bulls (especially the first quarter, where the Bulls shot just 20% and scored 18 points; Mario Chalmers had 11 points in the first quarter) the Bulls came out firing from three point range in the second half. They even had two four-point play opportunities in the third quarter, courtesy of Jimmy Butler and Marco Belinelli. However, the Heat countered the Bulls’ shooting with their own: Mike Miller was phenomenal from three point range, going 3-4.
While the Bulls did take the lead momentarily in the third quarter (going up 61-60 before Mike Miller fired the Heat back on top), it always felt like the Bulls were working to stay in the game and not necessarily to win the game. That being said, they never gave up until the very end of the game, even without important players like Joakhim Noah and Taj Gibson, who sat out.
While Nate Robinson was great in the first half, hitting deep threes and bankshots to keep the Bulls within two at halftime, in the second half, Nate Robinson was dreadful and couldn’t get any shots to go — he finished 5 of 16 and 14 points. In terms of offense, the Heat got a very balanced scoring attack with six players in double figures, and all five starters in double figures.
While this game meant nothing for the Heat in terms of their playoff picture, it was an important statement for themselves (seeing as the Bulls ended The Streak) and an important statement to the Bulls (seeing as it is very possible that the Bulls face the Heat sometime in the playoffs).