If you just watched the first seven minutes of game 5, you might have checked out right then and there. But if you remained tuned in, we had ourselves a game. In the end, the Bulls went down but not without tremendous fight.
As stated, Chicago made the start of the first quarter look quite abysmal. The Heat had a string of possessions without a single turnover that had them up by 18 with 5 minutes to go. As we’ve learned, Chicago doesn’t give up that easily.
And so they rallied with Carlos Boozer leading the way. By the end of the first, Boozer led the field with 12 points. Helping the cause was Nate Robinson, who ended his streak of 16 straight misses dating all the way back to game 3. They began to crawl back to within 9 to end the quarter down 30-21.
Even more promising was their second quarter comeback as Jimmy Butler and Robinson took over, with Boozer still aiding. Butler hit a couple from downtown and just like that Chicago had a 38-36 advantage. Defensively, the Bulls kept most of Miami in check, but Chris Bosh was still able to keep the Heat in the hunt by making his own pair of threes. He had 11 by the end of the half. When the second quarter did come to a close, Bulls were up 53-47 with Boozer posting 19 points, hitting 7 for 9 with 6 boards.
Coming out of the half, Miami didn’t respond in dramatic fashion but rather seemed more engaged and their competitiveness peaking. More plays came to blows on the floor with players fighting for possession. Chris Andersen and Ray Allen would make shots showcasing the depth of the Heat’s bench but would close out the third still down 8. Dwyane Wade did look iffy and would exit during the third after evaluating his knee tape on the bench.
No worries for the Heat, though, as Wade would surely show up back at the start of the fourth. Not only was he present but he made Chicago feel his presense. After Shane Battier, Norris Cole and Andersen lifted Miami up and over the bulls 84-83, Wade would looked classic as he made consecutive runners. He would lengthen the Heat’s lead to 93-86 in the final minutes with a dunk that had AmericanAirlines Arena on their feet.
The Bulls would pull within 3 courtesy of a challenging Robinson shot well beyond the arc. However, Chicago would squander their final possession with a several missed attempts as the clock ran down.
The Bulls went down in a strangely similar fashion this time in 2011. Chicago took game one of the Eastern Conference Finals and then followed up with 4 straight losses to hand the series to Miami.
However this year was, in fact, different. The Bulls arguably showed more fight than any other struggling team with the little they had in them going into this series. Making it past Brooklyn was a feet in itself, given the missing puzzle pieces of their starting lineup. Their tanks were running on empty and at times it was hard to watch, yet they still wouldn’t let Miami run off to the races in the closeout game.
This is because we are Chicago and we will forever be this way. Proud to be fans in this extraordinary city and as always…we look forward to next season, just imagine.