The Miami Heat won the defensive brawl 85-75. Series is tied 1-1.
Miami was able to come out on top in the NBA version of a street fight. When you talk about two stingy defenses that can lock up at a moments notice these are the two teams in the league that you would be referring to. Miami and Chicago are both playing championship level defense. What put Miami over the top was Lebron James. He made the big plays that mattered down the stretch including a clutch three pointer that sealed the deal. The Heat got what they wanted with Bosh having a below average game and Lebron and D. Wade scoring in the 20s. It looked like Derrick Rose had to carry the team because the Bulls seemed to lack their game one energy. Derrick was 7 of 23 and scored 21 points so that didn’t really do Chicago much good. Chicago must have felt like they could shoot threes because the jacked up 20 of them and only made 3 as a team. Miami would not allow them in the paint with out punishment. This made the Chicago bigs ineffective and the guards to shoot from long range. Luol Deng was 1 of 7 from beyond the arc. If the Bulls moved the ball some more they could have been able to get inside but, Lebron and Wade were jumping the passing lanes and stealing carelessly thrown passes. This eventually shut down Chicago’s offense.
Chicago had equally intense defense but Miami moved the ball. Allowing the offense to run outside the big three was a great adjustment by coach Spoelstra. Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller not only opened up Miami’s shooters (Mike Bibby had some open shots that he flat out missed) but it opened things up for Lebron and Wade as well. Lebron, Wade and Bosh are going to have to pick their spots carefully. In the game they shot the ball efficiently and they have to continue to do so if they have any plans on going to the NBA Finals.
Chicago needs to allow ball movement to open up spaces in the defense. I love Derrick Rose’s game but he needs to stop doing that thing where he leaves his feet and makes a pass. It gives Miami a chance to predict where it’s going because they know he has to move the ball before he lands. It’s just a fundamentally unsound way of playing the game. Chicago’s bigs need to follow the example of rookie Omer Asik and keep their hands up at all times. They’ll foul a lot less that way and it allows them to use their height to their advantage.
Miami did a fantastic job of not getting killed on the glass and were able to out rebound the Bulls defensively. Miami was able to be better in the paint all around out scoring the Bulls 50-34 in that area.