The Big Three got it done.
You can spew hate against “The Decision.” You may deride LeBron James for his exit from Cleveland or mock Chris Bosh.
I won’t begrudge you that. You’re entitled to your opinions.
But, I will ask a simple question. Wouldn’t you move from Cleveland to Miami, pocket a pile of cash and work with your buddies if you could? Whatever your line of work, that level of freedom, or some semblance thereof, is what most aspire to.
On Thursday night, the Heat took advantage of Chicago’s lack of consistency behind Derrick Rose and powered their way to a fourth straight win and a date with the Mavericks in the NBA Finals. James didn’t see the free throw line until the third quarter. He hit nine-of-11 overall and nailed two huge three-pointers as part of that 18-3 run to close out the series.
Dwyane Wade was downright pathetic for the first third quarters before the switch flipped. He dominated down the stretch, including a four-point play to cut the Chicago lead to three points. Wade finished with 21 points. Wade overcame an absurd turnover count of nine to finish it out.
Chris Bosh scored 20 points and 10 rebounds. He came into the series as the distant third on everyone’s radar, but demonstrated a strong inside-outside presence.
I opened this thing by saying that “The Big Three got it done.”
Look at the box score. There was no Mike Miller or Udonis Haslem stepping up to provide big minutes here. The trio of James, Wade and Bosh scored 69 of the team’s 83 points.
The Bulls fade into the off-season, and you can already hear the chatter about prospective shooting guard additions and changes in the interior. Derrick Rose, the MVP, made only nine-of-29 shots and made a number of questionable decisions down the stretch. Steve Kerr banged the drum on the broadcast for Thibodeau to get him on the bench for a few minutes at the end of the third quarter to keep him fresh for the stretch run.
In the end, Rose had to try to carry the squad again. Luol Deng gave him 18 points of support, but the rest of the Bulls were virtual bystanders offensively.
The Bulls got solid minutes off of the bench Kurt Thomas. I championed his use earlier in the series for the pick-and-pop potential and willingness to bang down low. Thomas hit a pair of shots and logged eight rebounds.
Ronnie Brewer added 10 points and hit an unlikely three-pointer.
But, let’s call it what it is. Kyle Korver can’t D and can’t create his own shot. Keith Bogans is an infrequent contributor to the scoring log. Boozer occasionally pops off for a big offensive effort, but there’s no consistency whatsoever. Noah is a high-energy player who can D up and rebound, but he has little offensive game.
Just one hour following the end of the series, the comparison to the end of the Bears’ run to the NFC Championship Game is eerily similar. Both teams made fantastic charges deep into the playoffs, but both also had glaring flaws. Once we get out of the lockouts, it will be interesting to see how those issues are amended.
For now, we’ll sit back and watch “the man who would be king” take on Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks. Are you cheering for the villain yet?