Miami Heat : 104 : : Chicago Bulls : 94 —May 10, 2013 (GAME 3)
The Big Three showed up in a big way in this one and helped Miami pull away late in the game. LeBron James had 25/8/7 with just a single turnover, Chris Bosh had 20/19/4 (which is significantly more notable than his production from Games 1 and 2 combined) and Norris Cole hit 6-of-7 from the field on his way to another 18-point game. I mean, Dwyane Wade had a nice game too with 10/4/5 on 5-of-7 shooting, but Cole was a major factor with 8 of his points coming in the fourth quarter so he deserves to wear the third crown tonight.
Chicago got off to a hot start though with overall solid efforts from their limited rotation, including 21 points from Carlos Boozer (who had previously been content to shoot and miss the same jumper over and over again to the tune of 14 total points on 20 shots in the first two games), but they were giving Miami’s shooters so much space on the other end and they eventually got burned. Obviously they don’t have the bodies to cover everything and jump shots are vastly superior to LeBron dunking on your head every time down the court, but they also lost track of shooters way too often. A similar thing happened last game, except they were getting beat by cuts and drives to the basket, so I guess this is an improvement and didn’t lead to a 37-point loss, but it still sucks. The Bulls did a great job limiting the Heat in transition (just look at Nate Robinson’s block on LeBron’s layup) and in the paint, but Miami torched them from mid-range early and that wasn’t always a case of “those are the shots we want them to take.”
That was all well and good through three quarters because they entered the final period all knotted up. After that though, I think we again saw what we had earlier in the night when Joakim Noah was called for a technical and Nazr Mohammed was ejected for shoving LeBron James to the floor (following LeBron sort of pushing him, earning a technical, after Mohammed picked up a personal foul. It sounds complicated, but just know that it was all very stupid). No one doubts the Bulls toughness, especially after that Brooklyn series, but I think it’s fair to question their composure. They couldn’t get stops on defense and they got into the penalty early in the fourth, committing some silly fouls, including a completely unnecessary loose ball foul in the back court after Miami had rebounded a Carlos Boozer missed three with a few minutes to go. He’s attempted 12 threes in his career so perhaps the fourth quarter of a playoff game isn’t the time to work on it. Their offense actually looked pretty good most of the time, even late in the game, but it was just one part of what they needed to pull off this win. Miami has a much larger margin for error and since winning Game 1, it’s felt like the Bulls have been putting more pressure on themselves than their opponent. It’s not a good look for them.
Miami Heat lead the series 2-1