Eastern Conference Finals Game 2: Heat

In Game 1, the Bulls won with defense and rebounding.

In Game 2, the Heat won with defense and rebounding.

Don’t get me wrong. There were other factors. Plenty of them.

The Bulls missed on a lot of open looks. Shots they hit in Game 1 became shots they bricked in Game 2. I lost count of how many shots rattled around the rim or went halfway down before popping back out…but there were several. If two or three of those wide open looks had snapped through the nylon, maybe things turn out differently.

Or maybe they don’t. We’ll never know.

The Bulls also shanked 10 free throws. The most painful of those misses came when Derrick Rose short-armed two in a row with 9:08 left in the fourth quarter and the Heat leading only 73-69. It also hurt when Taj Gibson failed to convert the free throw on an “And 1” opportunity with 2:29 left and the Heat up 78-75.

On the other side of the basketball, Miami got a huge lift from Udonis Haslem, who returned from the dead with an inspiring all-around performance: 13 points, 5-for-10, 3-for-3 on the line, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. His plus-minus score (-11) is deceiving, because Haslem made several big-time plays.

He was to the Heat what Gibson was to the Bulls in Game 1.

In particular, Haslem drilled two 20-footers in the final minute and a half of the third quarter to stymie a rally attempt by the Bulls. Time and again, Haslem made positive basketball plays. He blocked a shot by Rose. He threw down a couple dunks. He grabbed three big offensive rebounds.

Before Game 1, Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau instructed his players: “Inspire your teammates. Do it with your effort.” Haslem did that last night for the Heat.

Miami also owned the paint, outscoring the Bulls 50-34 in the colored rectangle, and going an amazing 16-for-20 at the rim (80 percent). According to ESPN Stats and Information: “The Bulls have not been able to keep the Heat from scoring down low, allowing Miami to shoot 64.6 percent from inside 10 feet in this series. In Game 2, the Heat entered the fourth quarter shooting 20-for-27 (74.1 pct) from inside 10 feet before cooling down.”

And, of course, there was LeBron James hitting clutch jumpers down the stretch. His biggest shot was the three-pointer he nailed with 4:28 left to put the Heat up 76-73. Before that bucket, the game had been tied at 73-73 for almost three full minutes, and anybody could have taken control at that point.

LeBron did just that.

So, yeah, there were other factors involved, but it still came down to defense and rebounding.

The basic building blocks of basketball.

The Bulls missed a fair share of open looks. However, the Heat pursued, pressured and contested with much greater intensity than they had in Game 1. For the most part, they kept Rose away from the basket, limiting to four shot attempts at the rim. When Rose did drive, the Heat made him to stop sooner than he wanted and forced him into 0-for-7 shooting from 3-9 feet.

Miami also cut off Deng’s path to the basket. Several times he drove baseline and lost the ball or got stripped. He ended up taking seven three-pointers and converting only one of them.

Carlos Boozer was 3-for-10. Kyle Korver was 1-for-7. Hands were in faces all over the place. In the final tally, the Bulls shot 34.1 percent as a team and went 3-for-20 from beyond the arc.

The Bulls still managed to haul down 17 offensive rebounds, but they resulted in only 18 second-chance points, compared to the 31 they had in Game 1.

According to ESPN Stats and Information: “Through three quarters, the Bulls dominated the offensive glass but struggled to capitalize, scoring just 16 points as they went 4-for-13 on second-chance opportunities. That came back to haunt them in the fourth, as the Heat kept Chicago off the glass, holding the Bulls to just two second-chance points on a single offensive rebound.”

In the bigger scheme of things, the Heat rebounded the Bulls 45-41 for the game. It was the first time this year — including both regular season and playoffs — that Miami outrebounded Chicago.

This is another one of those games that, if you look deep down, remind you that for all the drama and heroics we see in players like D-Rose and LeBron, winning and losing really comes down to the fundamentals of the game.

Defense and rebounding.

Those are supposed to be the Bulls’ specialties.

Last night, they were the team’s Achilles’ heel. Now the homecourt advantage is lost.

More on this disappointing loss later.

Extras:
Recap, Box Score, Advanced Box ScorePlay-By-Play, Shot Chart, Photos.

24 Responses to Eastern Conference Finals Game 2: Heat

  1. Inception May 19, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    where was Booz? didn’t see that same aggression he had in game 1….and what was up with those 3 consecutive foul calls on CHI in the 2nd quarter? looked very flaky, and to a certain extent, crooked…anyway, i’ll try to stay away from the conspiracy theories.

    hate to say it, but if MIA wins game 3, i think they’ll take the series….that’s why I thought game 2 was so crucial for CHI….it’s going to be a war on sunday…i’d hate to be a ref (an ethical one) for that game.

  2. Tae May 19, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    AND 1 (more usual terrible Boozer game. Scores less than 10 but gave up over 15 as usual)

    I think the resurrection of Udonis Haslem put a crick in Thib’s plans more than anything. He’s their third best rebounder by far, and his dunks and mid-range jumper completely change how the Bulls approach their attack in a war of attrition.

    However if the Bulls made their free throws that would’ve helped, too.

  3. kempleton@yahoo.com'
    kempleton May 19, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Omer was very effective in defense with his double teams and with the way he closed the paint and with the way he prevented the penetrations of Lebron and Wade and with the way he forced them to bad shots. It was a 9 point Heat lead before Omer entered at the end of 3rd, it was tied when he got his chin cut in the 4th, he left the floow Noah came in and it became a 9 point lead for Heat again. Both teams struggled on offense when Omer Asik was playing, it was only Bulls struggling on offense when he was out at the end of the 4th quarter. Very impressive from a rookie from Turkey!

  4. scott.atherley@mail.mcgill.ca'
    ScottA May 19, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    Omer was definitely great – might not have changed much if he hadn’t gotten cut in the 4th (Lebron still wasn’t really penetrating), but the Bulls defense always seems to solidify with him out there. Tough to say why Noah can’t quite replicate what he does (not enough size? too prone to reaching in/dropping his hands?).

    In general: if the Bulls shoot that way, they’re not winning. The defense was very good, until Lebron hit some tough shots at the end. Rebounding was fine – not dominant (Miami clearly improved), but still a clear advantage (the overall Heat edge is because the Bulls both got 14 more shots then the Heat and missed most of them, resulting in more easy rebound opportunities). Less-mentioned – the turnovers have also decisively favored the Bulls in both Game 1 and 2, which is part of why they’re getting more offensive chances.

    Basically, they’re playing very solid basketball and mostly getting the shots they can reasonably expect to get against a good defense (exempting the last few minutes last night); just didn’t make them this time.

    3/20 on mostly open 3’s is horrific (and one of the makes was Deng’s miracle 3). If that doesn’t change, Bulls will lose the series. There’s probably a minimum percentage the Bulls have to shoot from 3 to give themselves a good chance to beat Miami; I don’t think it’s that high (maybe around 30%), but it’s certainly higher then 15%.

    (sorry, that was very long; lots of thoughts to get off my mind)

  5. hellajax@gmail.com'
    BULL4EVER May 19, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Game 2 was a total disappointment because Chicago could have stolen last night’s game on making free throws and D’Rose making shots he normally makes, but the Bulls will be totally fine for the rest of the postseason and Chicago will win the NBA title no matter what and I love our shot at winning it all.Just have to play slightly better in the 3rd game and beyond.GO BULLS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. speed_to_ge@hotmail.com'
    tonious35 May 19, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    You Bulls fans have to be lucky that Bosh is on this Heat team. If Udonis Haslem was the starting power forward, you would be getting beat out to a lot of 50/50 balls that you won in the 1st quarter.

    I thought Haslem won it all for the Heat tonight, no matter what Wade and James scored. Haslem represents what the Bulls were running on this entire year, pure heart, intangibles and effort.

    I forgot that he returned until last night and while watching I knew he was going to do something more meaningful than what Bosh can do in an entire season. If the Heat were a smart team, they’d trade Bosh for high future draft picks to stock around Wade and Lebron.

  7. doubleaccord@gmail.com'
    Tony C. May 19, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    ““The Bulls have not been able to keep the Heat from scoring down low, allowing Miami to shoot 64.6 percent from inside 10 feet in this series.”

    Yes, well, that comes in part from the Bulls being a bit too aggressive when double teaming. I’d much rather force the Heat to win through outside shooting than easy looks around the rim.

    I agree with most of what Matt had to say in his post, but can’t help pointing out that another common denominator in the Bulls losses during the off-season is the over-reliance on Rose offensively in the fourth quarter. Thibs needs to come up with other viable options, and Rose needs to exercise them. I’d like to see Gibson given more of an opportunity in the post, as he is playing with confidence and that part of his game is becoming quite solid.

  8. jake_vick@hotmail.com'
    Jake in Minnie May 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    The problem with the Bulls was they did their best impression of my pick-up game yesterday…I got tons of boards…and missed tons of bunnies.

  9. prosper.guard@gmail.com'
    MadKing May 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    I have a problem with Thibs not sitting Derrick. I don’t think Derrick sat at all in the second half. The Bulls have shown that they can win games with their bench. When CJ comes in it shows the Heat a different look offensively, even if only for a few minutes. This time is crucial because it gives Derrick the opportunity to rest, as well as, gives the bench a chance to run an offense that isn’t centered on the MVP. I don’t care if the Heat extend a lead – because if Derrick forces the issue on tired legs the offense really looks bad. We all love Derrick, but I think when Thibs gets away from sitting him then the team becomes worse. He needs a break, even if only to collect his thoughts and watch the game for a minute.

    Maybe I’m way off on this, but I really think the Bulls should have played CJ in the second half (and they should continue to play him). Derrick already has to shoulder a lot of scoring, but when he plays two consecutive quarters the team becomes one-dimensional.

  10. Anonymous May 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    The Bulls really need Kyle Korver to contribute something. He’s here to hit 3’s and for 5 or 6 games now he hasn’t done it. I don’t know if he’s just gone cold or if they need to do something other than the “sprinting curl route into a contested turn-around 3” play, which seems to be the only time he gets the ball. I don’t know what they want to do with him, but if he can’t hit 3’s he needs to stay on the bench because he’s a total liability defensively and they’ll pick on him all night long.

    Noah really needs to find some confidence in that little baby jumper of his. It’s unreal how far off of him they’re playing; if he gets the ball at the free-throw line, he needs to take a dribble and then put up his shot. Start looking for it; it’s there all night long and early in the season he was knocking it down. I dunno if his hand injury has made him tentative about shooting or what, but we need him to be a threat to do something offensively.

    The Bulls have to make a concerted effort to post Boozer or Gibson up effectively. Make Bosh work down there; he’s not strong or a particularly dedicated defender. Go after him.

    You need to guard Haslem. You cannot let him get breakaway dunks and stuff…that’s just embarassing and it fires up the Heat and really got them rolling. You must clamp down on them. If James and Wade beat you, they beat you, but you cannot let them win the game with nobodies and washed up has-beens.

  11. TBF May 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    The Bulls really need Kyle Korver to contribute something. He’s here to hit 3’s and for 5 or 6 games now he hasn’t done it. I don’t know if he’s just gone cold or if they need to do something other than the “sprinting curl route into a contested turn-around 3” play, which seems to be the only time he gets the ball. I don’t know what they want to do with him, but if he can’t hit 3’s he needs to stay on the bench because he’s a total liability defensively and they’ll pick on him all night long.

    Noah really needs to find some confidence in that little baby jumper of his. It’s unreal how far off of him they’re playing; if he gets the ball at the free-throw line, he needs to take a dribble and then put up his shot. Start looking for it; it’s there all night long and early in the season he was knocking it down. I dunno if his hand injury has made him tentative about shooting or what, but we need him to be a threat to do something offensively.

    The Bulls have to make a concerted effort to post Boozer or Gibson up effectively. Make Bosh work down there; he’s not strong or a particularly dedicated defender. Go after him.

    You need to guard Haslem. You cannot let him get breakaway dunks and stuff…that’s just embarassing and it fires up the Heat and really got them rolling. You must clamp down on them. If James and Wade beat you, they beat you, but you cannot let them win the game with nobodies and washed up has-beens.

  12. pjreiman@gmail.com'
    Paul May 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    The shot distance breakdown is fascinating for this game.

    23% on 3/s… but 47% from 16-23 feet. Rose was 5-9 on outside jumpers other than 3’s. So we hit some outside shots, just the 3-balls didn’t fall.

    What really hurt was the mid-range game. 0-5 from 10-15 feet. 3-18 from 3-9 feet. Rose was 0-7 from 3-9, all of those floaters and set shots he normally makes. Defense was surely a part of it. Perhaps fatigue from 42 minutes was part of it. But I don’t think he misses all of those for 3 more games.

    Mindset needs to be like the road seed now: play for the split. Get it back to 2-2 coming back home, and you become the favorite again.

  13. contrerasadvocates@yahoo.com'
    Savage May 19, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    I really felt like Rose was playing like he was intimidated for some reason. If Rose plays with fire and confidence we win the series because we have a better overall team. But Rose needs to show up each night or we won’t have enough offense that is just how the team is constructed right now. Rose can’t just back out 2 feet from the three point line and kick it every time he gets doubled. He is quick enough to make a move before the double gets set or to go through or around it. At that point he can drive and kick for an open shot or dunk or take it strong to the cup himself. Either way Rose MUST force the issue on offense for us to win this series. He can not play tentative or like he is intimidated. We need that FIRE D. Rose. Lets go!!

  14. Inception May 19, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    Rose can’t do it all by himself.

    with Noah and Boozer on the bench for a majority of the 4th, i’m sure Thibs was trying to send a message for game 3 to those two…actually, seeing Booz on the bench for the 4th is not odd, so maybe he’s used to it.

    either way, if CHI (and Booz/Deng in particular) doesn’t respond and ends up losing game 3, i think MIA will most likely win the series….you’ll see a clear shift in power/momentum….right now with the series tied at 1-1, i think there’s more of a gray area on which team is the better one right now.

    game 3 – go all out!

  15. prosper.guard@gmail.com'
    MadKing May 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    I hope Derrick Reads this article by this biased Heat fan…
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Ahw_HUNqoy8X8WMfg9xbU7OJu8J_?slug=ycn-8500565

  16. zilla2033@yahoo.com'
    Mattzilla May 20, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Gotta get it out of the way: 5 calls so bad that the announcers were calling out individual officials on air in the first half, and all against the Bulls. There, got it out of me.

    Now, the real reason the Bulls lost: The Heat played like everyone expected them to when the cashed in on free agency. In fact, I think the closeness of the score shows just how good the Bulls are already.

    This is a very good Bulls team, but let’s stop acting like we all didn’t know that if, in any given game, LeBron, Wade, and Bosh all decided to step up on D, two of them were making their shots, AND they got help from teammates that they aren’t pretty much guaranteed to win that game.

    We all know the team that beats Miami is going to be the team that is good enough to win while Miami tries to beat itself, and I really hope they try to beat themselves for 3 of the next 5 games.

  17. @Mattzilla May 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    those calls were so horrendous, that the name Tim Donaghy popped up in my head…don’t get me wrong, there will always be bad/missed calls by the refs, but to see one horrible call after another within seconds is just ridiculous.

  18. jason.long@colby.edu'
    Jason May 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    Jeff Van Gundy always says “it’s a make-or-miss league”. It’s interesting to break down strategies and secondary stats, but so often it comes down to whether jumpers go in or not. Some (all?) of the losses to the Pacers and especially the Hawks simply came down to those teams making mid/long range jumpers. In Game 2, the Bulls just missed too many shots…including free throws. If a few more go in, they win. That, to me, is the good news. They’ve had nights like this all year. Looking at Game 1 in retrospect, it seems like another shaky shooting performance by the Bulls was masked by their unreal production on second chances.

    The main strategy/execution component that I didn’t like from Game 2 is that the Bulls couldn’t make the Heat pay for trapping Rose off the screen-roll. In the past, they’ve done a good job with Noah flashing to the foul line and executing the 4-on-3 offense from there. TBF, I totally agree with you that Noah’s gotta step into that little 15 footer and shoot it with confidence. For a great offensive team with lots of weapons, that’s probably not your best shot. But for these Bulls, that’s a shot you want. Hard to blame Rose for not getting to the rim when you’ve got BOTH LBJ and Wade on you on the perimeter!

  19. reggiemcglory@yahoo.com'
    chitown4life May 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    I went through read some post and wanted to keep it short .The bulls are going to win this series for sure the network saw the high ratings and $ signs lit there eyes up. They want this series to go at least six or seven games , I am sticking with my first choice six games Bulls win.
    The team just did not make shots plain and simple including free throws if they did the Bulls would of won, no need to change anything they will be fine and D Rose is gonna have a monster game three trust me, heat fans are worried they know the stats also lets go Bulls.

  20. Inception May 20, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    @chitown4life: try to be a little objective sometimes.

  21. hellajax@gmail.com'
    BULL4EVER May 20, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    Chicago will be winning the 3rd game of this series, especially when there is a zero chance or a slight chance that D’Rose and Co. will have another disappointing performance after game 2.No team has beaten Miami in south beach as of yet in this postseason and Chicago will be the 1st opponent to beat them down there and I’m totally looking forward to game 3 because Chicago will be taking total control of this series by going up 2-1.GO BULLS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. gorditadog@aol.com'
    Gorditadogg May 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    Miami won because Wade shut DRose down in the 4th- Zero field goals, 2 points. Bulls held Miami to 14 points in the 4th, but Bulls only scored 10, and only 2 in the last 7 minutes.

    I’ve got to say though, I am wondering too about those 3 cheapie fouls to start the 2nd quarter. That was a big break for Miami.

  23. pred8tor69@hotmail.com'
    CJ May 20, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Rose isn’t backing up because he’s intimidated. Hubie Brown explained that he does it to give his team a man advantage below the trap. It didn’t work out because everyone but Taj was off.

    I’m still confident that the Bulls will win in 6. The Heat didn’t shut them down. They missed tons of open shots and free throws. Even with the anemic shooting, Haslem’s spark, and LeBron’s heroism, the Bulls were in it late. If they just shoot their average from 3 and the stripe, they probably win. Miami’s 85 points wouldn’t have been enough to beat the Bulls in any other game they played this season.

    I won’t panic unless Miami wins three games, or if they blow the Bulls out when they shoot well.

  24. hellajax@gmail.com'
    BULL4EVER May 21, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    It’s impossible to bet against D’Rose and Co. especially when Chicago already has another Jordan in D’Rose and this totally reminds me of those damn good old 90’s when it used to be impossible to bet against Jordan and Co. no matter what, speaking of that unbeatabulls/unstoppabulls/untouchabulls Chicago team of the 90’s.Miami is totally lucky they’re not down 2 games because Chicago should be up 2 games instead of a split.lebron james won’t ever even win it all and Rose will win multiple NBA titles with his Bulls like Jordan did in his 90’s era.GO BULLS!!!!!!!!!!!

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