Nobody really expected the Heat to pull out this series win after how the Bulls handled them in game 1, but the Heat made adjustments to advance to the NBA Finals. The Bulls played hard but their downfall was scoring late in the last four games.
The Chicago Bulls (62-60) had the best record in the NBA and owned the season series against the Miami Heat (58-24), and none of that gave them an edge in this series. The question for the Bulls coming back to Chicago was will they be able to score in the final period, and have a chance to extend the series.
Chicago could not extend the series as Miami opened the door to a 2006 NBA Finals rematch with the Dallas Mavericks. The Miami Heat made their first NBA Finals in 2006 behind the play of Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal. The Mavs had home court advantage and won the first two games, and once they went on the road Miami won four straight to give them a their first NBA Championship. With their play in this game they look poised to do it again.
Derrick Rose struck first to open the game as the Bulls took a 4-0 lead. Dwyane Wade made a pair of free-throws and LeBron James made a jumper to tie the game up at four-points apiece. Wade made another pair of free-throws and Chris Bosh made a jumper to give the Heat an 8-6 lead. Wade and James both made jumpers to give the Heat a six-point, 12-6 lead. Keith Bogans and Luol Deng answered with back-to-back baskets to get the Bulls within two-points.
Joel Anthony made a three-point play to give the Heat a 14-10 lead. Joakim Noah made a jumper to spark the Bulls on an 8-0 run that gave them an 18-15 lead. Dwyane Wade got the Heat within two-points, but the Bulls answered with another run that included a three-pointer from Luol Deng. The Bulls led 25-18 with 1:07 left in the quarter till LeBron James made a three-pointer, but the Bulls still lead by four-points to end the quarter.
LeBron James opened the second quarter with a jumper for the Heat, and Kyle Korver answered with a three-pointer for the Bulls to give them a 28-23 lead. Mike Miller made a jumper for the Heat to get them within three-points, but C.J. Watson answered with a jumper to make it a five-point, 30-25 lead. The Bulls then went on a 7-0 run that gave them a 37-25 point lead.
The Heat answered with a 7-0 run that was capped off with a Mike Miller three-pointer that got them within five-points, 37-32. Miller made another jumper for the Heat only to have the Bulls push their lead with a Carlos Boozer free-throw and a Luol Deng three-pointer. Chris Bosh scored four straight points to get the Heat within five-points, 43-38. Ronnie Brewer made a jumper to give the Bulls a 45-38 lead going into halftime.
Luol Deng opened the third quarter with a jumper to give the Bulls a 47-38 lead. Chris Bosh scored the next four-points to get the Heat within five-points. The Heat then went cold as the Bulls went on a 10-2 run that was started by a Derrick Rose three-pointer and capped off with a pair of Carlos Boozer free-throws. Mario Chalmers ended the Heat drought with a three-pointer of his own as the Bulls had a ten-point lead, 57-47.
Chicago went cold as Miami bounced back into the game with 8-2 run that included all free-throws from the Heat. The Bulls had a 60-55 lead till Derrick Rose made a pair of free-throws that made it a 62-55 lead. Chris Bosh ended the quarter with a jumper to cut the Bulls lead down to five-points, 62-57 going into the final period.
Derrick Rose made a three-pointer to open the fourth quarter and Kurt Thomas made a jumper to give the Bulls a ten-point 67-57 lead. The Heat called a timeout and after that they went on a 6-2 run that cut the Bulls lead to six-points. Ronnie Brewer made a jumper and Luol Deng made a pair of free-throws to push the Bulls lead back to ten-points.
LeBron James made a free-throw to get the lead to single-digits for the Heat only to have Ronnie Brewer make a three-pointer to make it a 12-point, 76-64 lead. Dwyane Wade made back-to-back buckets to get the Heat within eight-points. James and Wade made back-to-back three-pointers to get the Heat within three-points, 79-76 as Wade’s three-pointer came with a foul.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade embarrass one another after victory.
LeBron James then made a three-pointer and a jumper to tie the game up, and then give them a 81-79 lead. Derrick Rose was fouled and made one of two free-throws to get the Bulls within one-point. If he would have made both of them that would have tied the game up with .26 seconds left. Chris Bosh sealed the game by making both free-throws to give them an 83-80 lead. The Heat finished the quarter with a 18-3 run as the Chicago Bulls still struggled to close out games and keep a solid lead.
Rose had a chance to tie the game with a three-pointer, but LeBron blocked his shoot as he was double-teamed by him and Udonis Haslem.
LeBron James led the Heat like he did this whole post-season in scoring with 28 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks. Dwayne Wade scored 21 points with six rebounds, and Chris Bosh added 20 points with 10 rebounds and four blocks.
Derrick Rose scored 25 points to lead the Bulls with eight assists and five rebounds. Luol Deng scored 18 points with seven rebounds, and Ronnie Brewer came off the bench to score 10 points.
Carlos Boozer did what he did all post-season and that was disappointing the fans with poor play as he finished with just five points and six rebounds.
The series between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami will begin Tuesday, May 31, 2011 Miami. The Heat holds home court advantage in this series as the Mavs held home court advantage in the 2006 NBA Finals.