What Can we Take From Game 2 Between the Heat and Bulls?

The Miami Heat, after being “upset” by the Number 1 seeded, Chicago Bulls in game 1, responded with a very gritty win against the Bulls in game 2.  The Heat won 85-75, tying the series at 1 win each, and giving the Heat Home-court advantage.  While the Bulls were able to come out and use their superior size in Game 1 against the Heat, LeBron, Wade, and the rest of the Heat were able to use their speed to beat the Bulls in game 2.  But here’s some things we can take from Game 2, and some things we can look forward to as the series goes to Miami.

– The Heat wanted this win more than the Bulls, and they wanted to win their way.  For the past couple of days, all you might have heard about when it came to the Heat was “soft”, “lack of intensity”, “lack of focus”, etc.  When the game started, and it was clear to the announcers that players like Zydrunas Ilgauskas were inactive, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was blasted, who said the Heat couldn’t win if they couldn’t match up with the size of the Chicago Bulls.  Coaches don’t usually respond to announcers or reporters that much, but I’m sure if Spoelstra was going to, all he’d say was “Scoreboard?”.  But like I said, Spoelstra stuck with his players and his style, which I commend.  He was sure that if the Heat played a little harder, went after the rebounds a little harder, they could win.  And they did.  The Heat played a very gritty game.   They didn’t shy away from attacking the bigger Bulls players, and they scored more points in the paint than the Bulls did.  After the last game, the Heat had to come up with an answer for the Bulls size, and now the Bulls have to come up with an answer for the speed of the Heat.  This battle between size and speed should continue to be an interesting dynamic to this series, and I look forward to the back-and-forth flow of it.

– LeBron James is still the best player on the Court.  Derrick Rose may be the MVP, and Dwayne Wade may be really good, but James is just flat out better than both of them.  James had more points and rebounds than either Rose or Wade, and only had one less Assist than Rose (who plays Point Guard, a position that typically has high assists).  James had an equal shotting percentage to Wade, but he actually shot and made a couple 3-pointers.  For the most part, he had his way with the Bulls defense too.  He looked a bit shaky early on in the game, but by the end of the game, Luol Deng couldn’t guard him, and he made Derrick Rose look absolutely silly as a defender.  James was the epitome of the point I made before, of the Heat wanting it more.  He didn’t quit in the 4th quarter like he’s been prone to do.  When the game was on the line, he made the clutch points that were necessary.  James scored 9 of his 29 points in the last 5 minutes of the game, which was the proverbial “dagger” that sealed the game for the Heat.

– Udonis Haslem was last night’s role-player hero.  Much like Taj Gibson in Game 1, Haslem came off the bench and provided a spark for the Heat.  After the game, he got so much credit for the win, you’d think he scored 40 points and blocked every shot.  But he was the player that the team rallied around, especially in the second half.  He was also the reason that Spoelstra got away with using his speed-based team.  Lastly, he’s capable of coming in off the bench and scoring points, something this Heat team hasn’t really had all year.  The Heat have been considerably thinner than most teams because they depend on Wade, James, and Bosh to score most of the points, and hope the Bench can contribute a small amount.  Now, with guys like Haslem stepping in and scoring a few, the Heat are much deeper.  And his biggest contribution is his effort on defense.  He was constantly flying around, making shots difficult for the Bulls players, and he really epitomized the grit for the Heat.

– The Heat need to go out and score more points.  The Heat cannot expect the Bulls to shoot as badly as they did last night.  While the Heat did play very tight and stifling defense, the Bulls were missing easy lay-ups and open look shots.  They only shot 34.1% and while they didn’t shoot incredibly well in Game 1 either, the Heat need to go out and score more points.  The Heat have scored around the same number of points each game, and it’s only because of their defense that they were able to win Game 2.  If the Bulls are able to shoot more consistently, and play their usual solid defense, the Heat will be in trouble.

The last thing we can get from this game, is that this is just going to be a close series to the finish.  I’ll be surprised if this series doesn’t go to 6 or 7 games.  I’d give the early advantage to the Heat, but I think it comes down to whoever wins Game 3.  I don’t want to call it a “must-win” game, because every game is a “must-win” game.  Overall, it should be a really good series that is very entertaining to watch.

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