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.