Last night, a good old fashioned beat down took place. But not on the streets of South Beach rather this shellacking occurred on the home court of the Miami Heat, American Airlines Arena. And the suspects were the usual ones, as LeBron James and Dwayne Wade provided a tag team effort with 34 points combined against Chicago in leading Miami to a 115-78 win over the Bulls in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Bye the way, it was the Bulls worst loss in playoff history. Embarrassing!
But the real laugh came from watching the frustrating and punishing hard fouls the Bulls employed, which took me back to the “Bad Boys” Detroit Pistons’ days versus the Bulls of playoffs past. A time when something called “The Jordan Rules” was in effect.
Call me sick! But this tough brand of B-ball the Bulls exercised really amused me. It just showed how so much the Bulls are not intimidated of the Heat, even though, they are the defending world champs.
And that very attitude manifested in a game that featured nine technical fouls (six of them called against Chicago), even one of the flagrant variety, to go along with two ejections to boot (Bulls’ Noah and Gibson).
But all of it did not work on this particular night…
“We came in with a mindset of let’s forget about everything else and just play the game,” as said by Heat, shooting guard, Dwayne Wade at the post-game press conference.
Despite Wade being tested, himself, from the very outset, (when he received a technical foul for tossing the basketball at Bulls, guard, Marco Bellineli after a rough push propelled him into the basketball stanchion) he and his team did not lose focus while the opposition did.
“It’s frustrating. I should not have lost my cool but it’s playoff basketball,” a remorseful, Bulls, forward, Taj Gibson said in the locker room, afterwards, as he was speaking of what got him tossed late in the game.
But the game had been long decided way even before Gibson drew a second technical foul early in the fourth quarter, after making his complaint to the ref that included a couple of expletives. A few short minutes later fellow Bulls big man, center, Joakim Noah, from the bench, followed his teammate for an early shower, too, when he vehemently protested Gibson’s ejection.
The real turning point in the game occurred with eight minutes left in the second quarter, when following a Gibson flush on Heat, power forward, Chris “Birdman” Anderson to cut the deficit to 32-28, inexplicably, fellow hot-headed team mate, point guard, Nate Robinson was hit with a technical foul for cussing at a Heat opponent, as the two teams walked to their respective huddles after a Miami timeout.
From that point on the wheels fell off for Chicago, punctuated, by Miami outscoring the Bulls 30-15 in the third quarter. The fourth stanza merely served as extensive garbage time for the benchwarmers on both teams, respectively. Heat, shooting guard, Ray Allen led all scorers, by himself, contributing a whopping 21 out of the 55 points overall the Miami subs produced alone for the best team in the league.
Although Miami was in full control of the outcome (their biggest lead of the game was 46 points), this ain’t the Tour De France. It still just counts as one win. Now the series is even at a game apiece. The Bulls can go back home still smiling. They did what they set out to do: steal one in Miami. As explained by Miami Heat, head coach, Erik Spoelstra:
“We were able to save this one, but we are still in the hole. They (the Bulls) got what they needed. They got one. It doesn’t matter about the score tonight. We need to move on now and get ready to go into the lion’s den on Friday.”
With home-court advantage now, as the scene shifts to The Mad House on Madison on Friday, all Chicago has to do is re-establish their toughness, and continue to grind it out to victory in the same manner as their once old-time nemesis, the “Bad Boys” of Detroit Pistons did, back in the day, to get a couple of championships out of it then, even at the Bulls expense. Lol.
“The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11, NIV).