|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBAAt the beginning of the 2010-2011 NBA season, who would have predicted that the Chicago Bulls would sweep the season series with the Miami Heat, and replace them as the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference? But on Sunday afternoon, that is just what happened, as the Bulls fought through a very close game to come out as the victors in Miami 87-86.
Miami pulled out to an early lead, and were up by 9 points by halftime. At their home court, you would expect them to hold onto that lead and come out on top, but this Chicago team had other plans. By the fourth quarter, the two were tied at 65 points each, when Chicago's Luol Deng put in a mid-range jumper to give the Bulls the lead.
With less than 20 seconds in the game, and the Bulls down by one, Deng missed a free throw. On the rebound, he was fouled, sending him back to the line for two more tries. He made both those free throws, giving Chicago the one-point lead with seconds remaining. Though Miami had two chances with a layup from LeBron James and a jumper from Dwyane Wade, they came up short.
This is Miami's fourth straight loss, and the Bulls' third win over the Heat this season. And the two significant factors of the Heat's performance tonight showcased the team's trend this season. First, they blew a sizable lead, up by nine points at halftime (12 points in the later part of the first half) and came up short the entire second half. Coming through in the clutch has been one of their biggest challenges all year..
Second, the Heat lost again to an elite team in the NBA. They have done respectably against Western Conference elite programs, splitting a few season series. But in the East, the Heat have yet to beat the Chicago Bulls or the Boston Celtics, the two teams ahead of them right now. This is not a good sign for their postseason chances. If they fall every time to the Celtics and Bulls, what are their chances of even making it to the NBA Finals?