LeBron James and the Miami Heat are four victories away from claiming what they have long dreamed of. The Heat have advanced to the NBA Finals and will face the Dallas Mavericks with Game 1 set for Tuesday in Miami.
James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh are clicking at the right time and are looking like a defensive juggernaut that cannot be stopped. After losing all three games to Chicago during the regular season, the Heat shut down the Bulls offensively, who had the best record in the Eastern Conference.
The series was not a lopsided one, but there was a common theme across the five games: The Heat controlling the fourth quarter both offensively and defensively. Miami got the key stops that they needed down the stretch and turned those possessions into points.
In tonight’s Game 5, it looked like the Bulls were ready to send it back to Miami for Game 6, but the Heat went on an 18-3 run over the last three minutes of the game. With a chance to tie the game at the buzzer, the Bulls failed to get a quality shot and saw their dream season fade away.
The league MVP Derrick Rose had an outstanding playoff, but none of his teammates could help him out and score on a consistent basis. Chicago played the same great defense they had all season, but their lack of a legit second scorer caused their season to end tonight. Boozer and Deng each had their moments, but both looked like role players when the game was on the line. Rose cannot and should not be blamed for his team’s loss because without him they would not have been able to come close to competing with the Heat.
For the Heat, LeBron James and Chris Bosh both had an outstanding series against Chicago, and they hope to carry the momentum into the series with Dallas. With the wealth of talent around him, LeBron played very unselfishly, which made Miami’s offense move fluidly. He also took on the task of shutting down Derrick Rose during the key possessions late in games.
Chicago native Dwayne Wade never quite found his groove in this series, despite putting up decent numbers. If the Heat plan on winning the NBA title, they will need All-Star performances from all of the Big Three.
As Chicago moves on to next season, they will no doubt look for another scoring option at shooting guard to compliment Rose. They have great team chemistry and are very deep, so expect the Bulls to be in a similar position next year.
The Heat have made it to the 2011 NBA Finals, but their goal when coming together in Miami wasn’t to reach championships, it was to win them. Both the Heat and the Mavericks look unstoppable right now. They both have the experience and poise under pressure to take the title, but only one team will. It is easy to see how hungry they each are, so expect a hard fought series with neither team backing down until the last buzzer sounds.