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redeyechicago.com

Heat choke is the feel-good story of the year (unless you're the Bulls)

Steve Rosenbloom

The RosenBlog

9:49 AM CDT, June 13, 2011

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Thank you, Dwyane Wade. It’s good therapy for America that your over-celebrating Heat have nothing but regret and embarrassment today.

A country shot off fireworks to mark the death spiral of an arrogant bunch of guys who shot off their mouths better than they shot the basketball.

Thank you, LeBron James. A big group hug for the nation as you led your overexposed Heat to spectacular underachievement in choking away fourth quarters, especially at home, until you ultimately choked away the NBA title.

Miami’s “Big Three’’ celebrated the NBA title last July when all they had done was accept a ridiculous amount of money. They acted like they’d won the whole thing a month ago when all they had done was win half of what they bragged they’d win. But the best moment --- short of Dirk Nowitzki’s holding the “Big Two’’ of the Larry O’Brien and Bill Russell trophies --- came in Game 2 of the Finals when the Heat started dancing and celebrating and acting out, and then, oops, choked a massive lead at home.

Oh, and I almost forgot the jerk way that Wade and James mocked Nowitzki’s illness, then denied it, and who’s laughing now?

Say this for the Miami Hate: Nobody is better at celebrating when nothing has been accomplished.

The Heat said they weren’t brought together to win not just one NBA title, but 5, 6, 7. Hard to do when you gag in Games 4, 5 and 6.

To think, Wade wondered aloud why most of the country seemed to be rooting for the Mavericks.

Reality check, Dwyane. Hel-LO.

Speaking of that, James also said those taking joy in the Heat’s pantsing will have to get back to reality soon.

For Bulls fans, that should come now. Because the reality is, no matter how small the Heat’s biggest names played, this doesn’t make the Bulls any better. It doesn’t get them any closer to a title, and in fact, it might appear to leave them farther away.

Sure, the Heat’s failure might make them happy the way it has elated just about everyone else with a brain, but the championship series only seemed to exaggerate the Bulls’ weaknesses.

The Bulls still have only Derrick Rose to trust in the fourth quarter. The Heat had two guys worth almost $200 million, and they couldn’t get it done. Both of them are bigger than Rose, and one of them should always be available to come through, and, well, this is like rewriting the Bulls’ playoff obituary, isn’t it?

And then the team that exposed and exploited the Bulls’ weaknesses got whipped in the Finals. That changes things more than I thought.

The Bulls’  question isn’t: How did we lose to those guys?

No, the Bulls’ question is: How would we ever win a quarter from the Mavericks?

Look, the Heat were just as good defensively as the Bulls, and the Heat couldn’t stop Dallas’ long-range bombing and interior play. Connect the dots, people.

The Bulls would have no one to guard Nowitzki, same as Miami. But worse, the Bulls would face more offensive problems against the Mavericks than they did against the Heat, or at least as many third, fourth, fifth and six options.

Even while stopping Wade, the Bulls got clowned by James, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, and even Mario Chalmers. Good luck thinking the Bulls would have an advantage facing Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, J.J. Barea, even DeShawn Stevenson and Jason Kidd.

Where do the Bulls hide Carlos Boozer in those situations? On the bench, I guess. Again. What a Soriano-like financial disaster this is going to be.

And what’s the deal with Joakim Noah? Double-doubles, hustle, energy --- and then he can’t get off the bench in the fourth quarters because Omer Asik is a better option? What a Boozer-like financial disaster this might turn out to be.

Let’s not even discuss the new version of a Kyle Korver double-double: can’t his hit shots and can’t stop anybody at the other end.

I’m talking Mavericks now, but this goes for facing the Heat again, as well. The Mavericks did to the Heat what the Heat did to the Bulls: Took their most important player out of the game and whipped them with scoring all over the place.

The talk after the Bulls’ title hopes died was getting Rose some help. Specifically, a second scoring option who can create his own shot.

Boozer can get his own shot sometimes, but it always seems to be the 15-foot jumper that opponents encourage him to take. Luol Deng can’t create his own shot because nobody in the history of the NBA, I believe, has bought his ball fake.

What else you got? Tell you what, C.J. Watson might be second behind Rose in creating his own shot. Sick, huh?

But guess what? Even that one new addition wouldn’t be enough. Nowitzki, Terry and Marion can get their own shots. Even the creaky Kidd created some space and killed the Heat from distance. One guy won’t be enough for the Bulls. One guy might just make the pain of failure greater.

If anything, the Mavericks showed the Bulls they are worse off than they might’ve wanted to believe when their postseason ended. It should be troubling. It should cause much angst in Bullsville.

But somehow, nothing hurts much after James and Wade took their failures to South Beach.