Since the summer of 2010, the Miami Heat have been a franchise built on sacrifice.
From the wallet of Mickey Arison down to the extra hours put in by coach Erik Spoelstra and the coaching staff, each and every member of the organization has made some sort of sacrifice in their lives for the ultimate goal of winning an NBA championship.
And people thought this would be easy? It’s been nothing but difficulties and obstacles impeding the Heat’s trio of championship runs over the past three years. Whether they’re dealing with injuries to their top two bench contributors, as seen in 2011, or playing without arguably their most important player, as seen in 2012, the Heat have been making constant sacrifices adjustments since the ‘Big Three’ was formed.
Leave it to the Miami Heat’s smallest guy to ignite the crowd into blowing the lid off the American Airlines Arena.
With Mario Chalmers struggling against Nate Robinson and with his shot, backup point guard Norris Cole has answered the call in a big way, especially against this Chicago Bulls team.
In 114 minutes of playing time, only ten less than Chalmers, Cole averaged 11 points on 69 percent shooting and made 9 of his 11 three-point attempts, while also keeping Robinson in check on defense.
Cole started off the series making his first eight three-pointers, including going 7-for-7 in between Games 2 and 3. He also set his postseason record for points with 18 in those games, combining to shoot 13-of-16.
However, his defining moment of the series may have come late in the fourth quarter of Miami’s 94-91 Game 5 series-clincher.
With his team down one in a back-and-forth affair and the Bulls doing everything in their power to keep LeBron James away from the rim, Cole took it as his personal green light and drove down the lane in a one-point game with less than six minutes remaining.
Cole avoids Carlos Boozer and then goes lefty as 7′ Joakim Noah comes in and attempts the block. But the 6’1″ Cole has already left his mark on the rim with the unexpected slam.
He only had five points on 2-of-5 shooting, but all five points and both makes came in the fourth quarter. He made his previous shot, a jumper, on the previous possession.
With George Hill and D.J. Augustin waiting around the bend, there should be no doubt that we’ll be enjoying some more Norris Cole over the next few weeks.
If Dwyane Wade’s Game 4 performance against the Chicago Bulls didn’t sadden you, then you haven’t been a fan of the Miami Heat for too long.
We have come to live with Wade usually being a sufferer of various ailments and injuries. They have have always been a part of him throughout his career, being the greatest representative of Wade’s ability to get to the rim and put his body on the line for the chance to score two points.
This year has been tougher than most, for Wade and the avid fans that will never give up hope that Dwyane is still capable of averaging big numbers on a consistent basis if given the chance, because the injuries are not healing.
Just when you thought the Miami Heat couldn’t embarrass the Chicago Bulls any further, they prove once again that they are as unpredictably efficient as any team in the league.
The Bulls have put in their best effort, but the mask has been pulled off. Their disguise of being able to stay in games through sheer effort and heart, combined with defensive discipline and low-percentage shots falling, could only keep their true identity hidden for so long.
It all fell apart in Game 4. In front of a late-arriving United Center crowd, the Heat put together one of their best defensive efforts in franchise history with an 88-65 victory.
Nearly three hours after it started, the Miami Heat come out of the United Center with a 104-94 victory to take a 2-1 series lead, while also reclaiming homecourt advantage after the Chicago Bulls won Game 1.
But, man, was it frustrating. Frustrating would be putting it lightly, actually. The Heat were downright infuriating and aggravating to watch at some points during a game that seems like a standard Miami victory, if looked at by someone who just saw the box score.
Because LeBron James’ 25 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and only one turnover aren’t indicative of a usual dominant performance. For the first time in a long time, if ever, James was supported by his teammates in this one.
The Miami Heat from Game 2 was more like the team we saw decimating over a two-month stretch that resulted in 27 consecutive wins.
The Heat from Game 1, however, looked like the team that was busy losing games to the Washington Wizards and Portland Trail Blazers early in the regular season.
It’s been a tale of two different teams in the Miami Heat’s semifinals series against the Chicago Bulls thus far. Following an embarrassment in terms of late-game execution in Game 1, the Heat put together arguably the greatest single-game postseason performance in franchise history with a 37-point Game 2 victory.
Against this Chicago Bulls team, however, mercy does not apply.
The Bulls were brimming with confidence off of their stunning Game 1 victory that came on the heels of a Game 7 road victory in the first round.
But the Miami Heat aren’t the Brooklyn Nets. They’re not like many teams. I’m sure we’ve been over this before. Which is why you shouldn’t be surprised that Miami would go into Game 2 with a refined identity and unnecessary bulletin board material.