Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals Thursday, May 26, 2011: LeBron, Wade and Bosh Propel The Heat Into The Finals
Says it all huh? Check out Maverick Carter in the back…
Game 5: Miami Heat (83) @ Chicago Bulls (80); Miami wins the series 4-1. I said 5. It went 5.
Fans of basketball have waited all year to see who would be NBA champion. The league had the spotlight for much of the year and despite everything that surrounded the Miami Heat, the organization is now poised to play for the championship for the first time since 2006 when they defeated Dallas. This will be a rematch of sorts but Wade has much more help. The Bulls were game but just didn’t have enough. LeBron James is proving to be great and it’s not over yet for Dirk Nowitzki and Dallas awaits…
LeBron is on his Mike Magic. He stepped up high when he had to and took what he knows is his. His line of 28 points, 11 rips, 6 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks doesn’t really explain how much of an impact he has on the game. He does this thing where he gets everyone involved early…nonchalant but effective…and turns the power up full force in the fourth quarter. With Wade struggling in his hometown (21 points on 6-13 shooting. Is that struggling?) and Bosh doing his thing (20 points, 10 boards, 4 blocks…big all series) all LeBron had to do was conserve energy for the final burst. He played a game high 45:46 minutes and when the pressure was on in the 4th, he answered definitively with 12 huge points. Both he and Wade had 8 points during that torrid 18-3 run to close out the game.
The Heat toyed with the Bulls.
Even pregame he wanted to let everyone in earshot know Miami would not be returning to Chicago. The Bulls were outclassed and after not losing 2 straight the entire year, Chicago was defeated in 4 consecutive games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
James, Wade and Bosh scored 69 of the Heat’s 83 points. Mike Miller had 7 and 6 boards, Mario Chalmers 4 and Joel Anthony 3.
Did any of you have any doubt Miami wouldn’t come back in the 4th?
For Chicago, the aforementioned Rose had 25 points, 8 dimes and 5 rips. Luol Deng, who played well despite having to guard LeBron the entire series, had 18 points, 7 boards and 4 assists. Ronnie Brewer had 10 in his 26 minutes off the bench. Noah (8 boards) and Boozer (6 boards) each had 5 (can’t go out like that) as did Korver and Bogans.
Derrick Rose needs some help if the Bulls are to be champs. A capable two guard would have made all the difference in this series. The Bull Wonder, who was regular season MVP, did all he could and despite shooting 9-29 his performance was admirable. Congratulations Derrick on a fine season. You have nothing to be ashamed for. Come back next near and wreck shop again because none of us can wait to see what you have next in store.
Noah and Boozer will learn from this but I’m quite surprised they didn’t have dominating performances throughout the series.
The Miami match up with Dallas will be interesting. The Heat lost both games to the Mavericks but also were swept by the Bulls in the regular season.
I gotta go Heat in 5. The floor will be opened and Chicago’s defensive ability will not go unnoticed when Miami gets out on the break vs Dallas. Dirk can’t do it alone on the offensive end.
I’ll have more in a preview.
Is there any doubt who the real MVP is?
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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com
Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith
Barkley on blaming Derrick Rose for the Bulls trailing in the series: “Anyone who thinks that the Bulls are losing because of Derrick Rose is an idiot. [The Bulls] have got to help him. [The Bulls] had the best record in the NBA and it’s not fair to score on LeBron James while playing 30-40 minutes a night. [James] is the best athlete in the NBA and is 6’8”, Derrick Rose is a 6’2” point guard. Somebody else on the Bulls has got to step up.”
Barkley on the Bulls: “The reason the Bulls are down in this series is because they can’t score.”
Smith on the Bulls needing to score more: “You can’t be the boxer that doesn’t throw any punches. You’ve got to throw some offense to win the fight.”
Barkley on the Western Conference Champion Dallas Mavericks: “The addition of [DeShawn] Stevenson, [Tyson] Chandler and [Brendan] Haywood has made [the Mavericks] a good defensive team. They can stop you, they can beat you on the boards and Dirk [Nowitzki] has been fabulous but this is a different team defensively and rebounding the ball.”
Smith on the Oklahoma City Thunder losing in the Western Conference Finals: “[Oklahoma City] made the strides that they wanted to make and now it’s time to get to that next level. There are very few teams that can buy themselves championships and go get three great players. Everyone else has to mature, get better and earn their right to get to the NBA Finals. That’s what Oklahoma City has to do.”
Barkley on Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook: “Anyone who thinks [the Thunder] should trade Russell Westbrook is an idiot. This kid is 21 [years-old] and he’s learning to play the point [guard]. Does he need to make better decisions? Of course he does. I would not trade him. Worst case scenario…if he’s going to get better and shooting and not passing, I’d move him to the two [guard]. I would not trade that kid. He’s an All-Star at 21 [years-old] and no one is a finished product at 21.”
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Game 5: Miami Heat (83) @ Chicago Bulls (80); Miami wins the series 4-1
Announcers: Marv Albert (play-by-play), Steve Kerr (analyst), Reggie Miller (analyst) with Craig Sager, reporting:
Kerr on Luol Deng’s dunk over LeBron James in the first quarter: “If I’m Luol Deng’s PR person I’m calling the Bulls photographer and say, ‘Can I get a copy of that please?’”
Kerr on defensive play during the Eastern Conference Finals: “If you’re a defensive guru, you have to love this series. Both of these teams rotate so hard and in concert with each other. They really understand their roles and they play so hard. This has been an unbelievable series to watch.”
Kerr on everything being magnified in the playoffs: “That is what happens in the playoffs. If [Korver] goes through a 3-11 stretch during the regular season, no one notices but when the eyes of the basketball world are upon him, everything is exposed in the playoffs. The spotlight is on you and you have to handle it as a player and forget about it and just play.”
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Johnson, Barkley and Smith
Smith on the Bulls needing to create shots for each other: “When your name isn’t Derrick Rose, you can’t just wait for an open shot. You have to seek some shots and you can’t be a ‘toss-back’ meaning you throw [the ball] back to someone. You have to seek shots and create opportunities that will let [Rose] go.”
Smith on struggling Heat guard Dwyane Wade: “[The Bulls] are doing a good defensive job against [Wade] but there is something going on with Dwyane Wade’s head because he is too good not to dominate any of these games and be the guy who carries them to the next level.”
Barkley on the Bulls’ bench contributing in Game 5: “As long as Chicago’s bench gives them an advantage, that’s the difference in the game.”
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Miller on players going to great lengths to draw fouls during the playoffs: “We have seen throughout the playoffs, some outstanding acting by some of our top-notch players.
Kerr: “I would think you would admire that.”
Miller on Heat guard Dwyane Wade struggling in his hometown of Chicago: “When you come home to play in front of family and friends, you want to play so well. But sometimes you speed up a little too much. At times, you have to take a step back and let the game come to you. I think he’s been pressing too much.”
Kerr on Bulls veteran reserve Kurt Thomas: “With Kurt Thomas, you’re going to get defense, you’re going to get hard picks and he can knock down a jumper. The Bulls rely on his experience.”
Kerr on Bulls reserve guard Ronnie Brewer: “[Brewer] has played really well in this series. He’s doing a lot of things defending LeBron. Brewer has done a nice job.”
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Heat forward LeBron James following the game:
James on how the Heat overcame a fourth quarter deficit to advance to the NBA Finals: “Defense and staying together. We’ve been in these situations before when we’ve been down late in the fourth [quarter] and we just buckle down defensively and execute.”
James on teammate Dwyane Wade playing through early game struggles: “Absolutely and I could see it on his face but I kept telling him, ‘just get through it, we need you.’ He’s a professional and one of the best two-guards and best players we have in this league. Guys like that are going to find their way through it and he did that for us.”
TNT’s Ernie Johnson interviewed Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra and guard Dwyane Wade following the game:
Spoelstra on if he’ll take a break before the Finals: “We have the plane ride back [to Miami] but after that it’s back to work.”
Wade on if he ever doubted the Heat would make it to the NBA Finals: “Right off the bat at the beginning of the year. We started off 9-8, and we said that if we started off 17-0 or 16-1, that’s not the best thing for this team. We need to go through [that] and look ourselves in the mirror and be committed to this. After that 9-8 start, we’ve been fighting it out.”
Miller on the “Big Three” on the Miami Heat: “Isn’t this why the three of them decided to go to Miami? It was for moments like this.”
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Johnson, Barkley and Smith
Barkley on the difference in the series between the Heat and the Bulls: “[LeBron James and Dwyane Wade] can make plays. The only guy on the Bulls that tried to make a play was Derrick Rose. If you go back to their four losses [in the ECF], he had to make every play for this team. He couldn’t do it. Miami played great defense but they had two guys that could score. The Bulls only had one guy and that was the difference in the series.”
TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau following the game:
Thibodeau on the Bulls’ fourth quarter collapse: “It’s disappointing but I thought our team played hard all year. We came up short in the end, we have to learn from it and get ready for next year.”
Thibodeau on the Heat: “They have the ability to make tough shots. They are hard to guard and they got calls. That backed us up so we weren’t as aggressive. That lead to some easy scores. Overall, I thought our defense was good but we didn’t make shots down the stretch.”
Smith on the Bulls not being able to create the best opportunities for Derrick Rose: “You have to create an opportunity for your best player to be the best player when you play against the best. You might not have to do it in the first two rounds but when you play the Dallas Mavericks, the Miami Heat or the Oklahoma City [Thunder], you’re going to have to come different. [The Bulls] didn’t have the ability to change anything offensively. That’s how they lost this series. They just don’t have the personnel right now to change anything.”
Barkley on the Heat’s bench: “It’s safe to say that Miami’s bench outplayed Chicago’s.”
Smith: “I think [the Heat’s] bench made a bigger impact during the key moments. They would hit key shots and made key defensive plays. More than anything, they weren’t afraid. When they didn’t make shots, they still attempted them.”
Smith on who knew the Heat were going to win Game 5: “There were only three people in the building that knew they weren’t going back to Miami [for Game 6]…Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James.”
Barkley on the Heat vs. Mavericks match-up in the Finals: “I think the Mavs have a really good chance and I think they’re going to win the [Finals] series. Dirk Nowitzki is in the moment and they are in the Finals. Tyson Chandler, [DeShawn] Stevenson and [Brendan] Haywood…I like this Mavs team. The stuff that the Heat did against the Bulls won’t work [against the Mavericks]. They are going to score….they aren’t offensively-challenged like the Bulls are.”
|E. House||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|J. Howard||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|Z. Ilgauskas||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|J. Jones||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|E. Dampier||DNP — INACTIVE|
|J. Magloire||DNP — INACTIVE|
|D. Pittman||DNP — INACTIVE|
|R. Butler||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|B. Scalabrine||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|O. Asik||DNP — INACTIVE|
|J. Lucas||DNP — INACTIVE|
|J. Pargo||DNP — INACTIVE|
Officials: Scott Foster, Marc Davis, Greg Willard
Time of Game: 2:41
- T. Gibson (1:45 – 3rd Qtr)