11:15 PM CDT, May 18, 2011
The Bulls couldn’t hit from the floor and couldn’t hit from the free-throw line. What else you got? Nerf basketball, anyone?
Derrick Rose was bad. Carlos Boozer was awful. Luol Deng was useless in the second half. Everybody else followed.
And that’s how the Bulls made a mess out of Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Finals against Miami.
You name the spot, the Bulls missed shots.
The thee-point line that was their friend in Game 1? They were 3-for-20 in Game 2.
The free-throw line where the Bulls hit 17-of-20 on Sunday night? They missed 10-of-26 on Wednesday.
The total misery from the floor where the Bulls converted 44 percent in the opener? They missed almost two-thirds of their shots a couple days later.
But wait. It gets worse. The Bulls scored only 29 points in the second half. They made only four baskets in the fourth quarter, all by Taj Gibson, and scored only two points in the last seven minutes.
Poof, there goes home-court advantage.
The stretch, though, is where the Heat killed the Bulls. Miami ended the game with a 12-2 run, nine of the points by LeBron James, the other three by Dwyane Wade.
And where were the Bulls’ offensive leaders? Anybody? Hel-lo?
Rose didn’t make a basket in the last 13 minutes, finishing with 21 points on a dreadful 23 shots. Deng didn’t score, period, for the last 19 minutes and missed 10 of 15 shots in all. Boozer, meanwhile, was on the bench.
Just because Miami forward Chris Bosh was doing nothing doesn’t mean that Boozer had to match it.
I don’t care how many Big Whatevers the Heat has, Boozer is just as important to the Bulls as the second scoring option as Bosh is to Miami as the third. I’m sure Boozer knows it. I’m also sure he needs to act like it.
Boozer spent most of the first half looking tentative or bad, or both. He passed up chances to take shots, and when he did, he missed 5 of 7. To be fair, Boozer’s five rebounds led the Bulls in the first half, and he had a block and a couple of steals.
But still, he has to do better than five points because he has trouble turning a bad offensive start into a good game, and this was another example, as he finished with three baskets on 10 attempts.
The Heat were trying to involve Boozer in pick-and-rolls because of his weak defensive abilities and they were killing the Bulls in the paint, making Boozer’s missed layins all the more aggravating and making Taj Gibson all the more necessary.
As if you needed more numbers to indict the Bulls, the Heat out-rebounded them and had more assists.
Oh, and Udonis Haslem came off the bench to strafe the Bulls for nine points in the last five minutes of the third quarter, finishing with 13 points and providing all kinds of game-turning energy. Haslem brought the kind of spark that Joakim Noah usually gives the Bulls and more points in that stretch alone than Boozer managed all night.
The whole thing was painful to watch. Most of it was self-inflicted. That’s actually a reason for optimism. The Bulls held Miami to 85 points, and the Bulls usually win when they do that to an opponent. So, it’s just a matter of making shots, and they can’t possibly shoot as horribly in Miami.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC