The Heat Strike Back In Game Two
Miami came out and was stunned the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals. They were embarrassed by the home-standing Bulls and plenty of people felt that this could be a foretelling of things to come. Well, the Heat showed some resolve and played their way back to tie the series. A few key things and changes happened to affect the outcome of game 2.
Udonis Haslem was a guy who was going to be depended on all year. I honestly thought that if he stayed healthy, the Heat would be at the NBA Finals at the beginning of the year. When he went down, he took all the toughness and grit of the Heat post players with him. I thought he may be lost for the season. But, low and behold, he comes back in the post-season. He had been largely ineffective so far in the playoffs, but when Miami needed him most, he showed up and showed out. Haslem outplayed the Bulls bench with his short jumpers, powerful dunks and great rebounding presence.
Dwyane Wade played a ton of minutes. In fact, at some point, I thought he would run out of gas. Wade played SG and backup PG the whole second half and they inserted Mike Miller at the SG position at times. Starting PG Mike Bibby also played better defensively than I thought he would be capable of, but in stretches, D Wade took over the task of guarding D Rose. Wade more than made up for his Game 1 performance and frustrated D Rose and the Bulls.
But by far the biggest change was the play of Miami Heat’s closer, LeBron James. James has been known to leave the door open for teams with his questionable shot selection down the stretch at times. Well, this game, he took over and took it to the Bulls. When the game was ties at 73, LeBron hit a huge 3 and then hit a mid-range jumper and then followed with another jump shot late to put the game out of reach. I have to give credit where credit is due. LeBron is turning the corner on being a closer right before our eyes.
For all the positives of the Miami Heat, there is one negative. I would watch the amount of minutes that D Wade and LeBron are starting to log. They both went 40+ minutes to get this win. Their stamina will be tested as the series goes on. And for the Bulls, they have to find more ways to generate offense. It seemed like they didn’t bring the energy they brought in Game 1. The Bulls must do that and make the hustle plays to win games.
In Game 3, I expect some more gamesmanship on both teams. It will be interesting to see what happens. But, until Sunday, Heat fans will be rejoicing and the Bulls fans will be searching for answers. It should be a great ride and a great site watching these two teams slug it out to the finish.