MIAMI — After a shocking win against the Miami Heat in the first game, the Chicago Bulls lost four straight. After a back-and-forth three quarters, Miami turned on the jets in the 4th quarter and cruised to the next round.
The Miami Heat held a 30-21 lead after the first quarter despite Carlos Boozer’s early success (Boozer would finish with 28 points). The Bulls began to click offensively and a three-point play by a driving Nate Robinson cut the lead to just five with over nine minutes left in the half. A pull-up jumper by Richard Hamilton, and a Jimmy Butler three pointer further cut the lead to one point.
With seconds winding down at the end of the half, Robinson, dribbled between his legs and chucked a deep three-pointer with only .5 seconds left in the half to give the Bulls a 53-47 halftime lead. Boozer was easily Chicago’s best player, and scored 19 pts at the half on 7-of-9 shooting.
The Bulls held a modest nine point lead late in the third quarter, but as has happened throughout the playoffs (and during the regular season, as well) everyone watching knew the Heat were going to turn it on. Norris Cole hit a jumper to trim the Bulls’ lead to one, then a few plays later Cole drove down the lane and finished with a one-handed dunk over the outstretched arms of Joakim Noah and Boozer. Soon after, Dwyane Wade exhibited his characteristic explosiveness (even with an injured right knee) by destroying the rim on an electrifying put-back dunk.
The Heat went on to outscore the Bulls 25-14 in the fourth quarter. LeBron James ended up with 26 points and Dwyane Wade added 18. Boozer also finished with 26 points and Little Nate chipped in with 21. Without former MVP, Derrick Rose, the Bulls had no chance in this series.
The Miami Heat have won 45 of their last 48 games, including the playoffs — now that’s a dominant basketball team.
The Heat will open the Eastern Conference Finals next week and will face the eventual winner of the Knicks/Pacers series.