Well, if you didn't think the series had much luster, you were wrong! The Heat tied the series with the Bulls at 1-1 with a blowout win at home by 37. Leading by as much as 46 points in the fourth quarter, the Heat made a statement to the Bulls, the series is on.
The game was testy from the very beginning with Dwyane Wade picking up the first of 9 technical fouls for the game about 20 seconds into the thing. The first half was very physical, and that's an understatement. Big hits and lots of jawing between the players led to a lot of free throws and not much rhythm to the game. The Heat put a run together near the end of the first half and led by 14 at the break.
After that, it was all Miami. The Heat found a rhythm as Chris Bosh got going, and LeBron James kept feeding Wade for buckets. Without as many stoppages, the Heat got their stroke and teamwork going, and it was pretty. In fact, the Heat didn't even need LeBron to score in the second half nor play the fourth quarter. James finished with 19 points and 9 assists. Wade tallied 15 points in a spirited effort in the second half, and Bosh had 13 points.
But Miami had many other contributors. They were led by Ray Allen with 21 points. Chalmers had 11 and Norris Cole had 18 points off the bench as he played great defense. The Heat regained their shooting touch in this one shooting 60% from the field for the game. They held Nate Robinson to 3-10 shooting and only 11 points.
The Bulls took the physical play a bit too far as Miami didn't back down and lost their cool in the second half. As Miami was pushing their lead up into the 40's, Joakim Noah barked at an official from the bench and was tossed for his second technical. Seconds later, Taj Gibson picked up consecutive technicals for mouthing off to Scott Foster, saying a few things that will cost him some money.
For Miami, it was the largest playoff win in franchise history. For Chicago, it was the worst playoff loss in franchise history. It went from a great physical battle to a blowout game for the Heat. When it was all said and done, the Heat won the game 115-78.
A few things happened of note:
Dwyane Wade regained some rhythm and played much better. His jumper wasn't flowing but he made his way to the basket and kept attacking. The Heat shot 50% from three going 9-18, making them very difficult to beat. Remember, Miami is undefeated when hitting 10+ threes in a game.
And most important - the Heat won the rebound battle 41-28! Yes, the Heat out rebounded the Bulls by 13. This is the type of play they will need to do that type of dirty work in Chicago. The Heat did work in this one, and it was impressive.
Game 3 is in Chicago on Friday night at 8 PM.
What did you think of the game? What was your favorite part?