MVP (Most Valuable Player): What Nate Robinson is pulling off for the Bulls is pretty amazing: a minimum contract guy taking almost every big shot for them in the playoffs. Tonight he had 27 points, nine assists, one steal and ten stitches in his lip. Nate is by no means perfect, but his scoring has been exactly what the Bulls have needed this postseason.
LVP (Least Valuable Player): Chris Bosh was out-rebounded by Marco Belinelli (7 to 6). Bosh isn’t known as a rebounder, but then again, neither is Marco. Bosh also went 3-10 from the field and since he wasn’t hitting midrange jumpers (1-6), Joakim Noah could stay closer to the paint and defend the rim.
Carlos Boozer (6 points, 3-11) gets the benefit of the doubt because the Bulls pulled out a win.
Defining Moment: Once again it’s an effort from Joakim Noah. With two minutes left, Marco Belinelli missed a 20-foot jumper, but Noah grabbed the offensive board and kicked it out to Nate Robinson. Nate got it back to Belinelli who nailed a trey and pulled the Bulls even at 86 apiece. The Heat didn’t score the rest of the way.
X factor: Miami made one field goal in the final four minutes of the game. A Chris Bosh dunk with 2:46 remaining was the only bucket during that stretch that wasn’t a free throw (they were 4-5 from the line over that time). The Heat were 1-6 from the field and 0-3 from deep over the final four minutes, while the Bulls went 4-7 from the field, 2-2 from three, and 5-6 from the charity stripe.
Also, the Bulls had more free throw attempts (29) than Miami (25) and Dwyane Wade didn’t get to the line once.
That was … unexpected: We heard that the “Heat would be rusty,” but it seemed like they would figure it out in time and pull away. But every time they made a run, the Bulls fought right back. It’s the same story as usual; this team just never gives up and never seems to be out of a game. Who knows what it means for the series, but this win proves Tom Thibodeau’s system and the Bulls’ effort…if it wasn’t already proven in the previous series.
And from the “This Is Becoming Normal” Department, Jimmy Butler played 48 minutes for the third straight game. His next expected break is the off-season.