1) Good God. Dwyane. Later for you, Bulls. Sit here and whine for a second, Chicago, while we let it fly.
2) For three quarters, Dwyane Wade was robbing every Heat fan's will to live. Heat jumped out to an early 18 point lead powered primarily by Mario Chalmers, and my Mario Chalmers shirt (4-0: MARIO CHALMERS SHIRT POWER!). But the Bulls ground, and ground, and ground some more, and not only caught Miami, but led by 8 points heading into the fourth quarter. It wasn't all Dwyane's fault, not by a longshot - everyone had stopped defending, moving on offense...everyone had just stopped playing hard, period - but Dwyane looked horrible. The Bulls didn't guard him on the perimeter, so he kind of bounced the ball back and forth, and would occasionally jack an errant splayed-leg anvil at the backboard. On the defensive end he had a lot of trouble staying in front of people - always seemed to be one step behind Richard Hamilton, in particular. When he went to the locker room in between the third and fourth quarters, M.Minutos prayed that he would stay back there. Instead, he came back out, and won the game. Playing with a severely hurt knee, while 2011 MVP Derrick Rose watched from the bench with a perfectly healthy knee, Dwyane gutted in back-to-back floaters to give the Heat a 4 point lead with 4 minutes to go, then a minute later extended the lead to 7 on a throwback spectacular tip dunk off a short missed Norris Cole jumper. With under a minute to go, he out-wrestled Carlos Boozer on an offensive rebound to gain an extra possession for the Heat, and when Jimmy Butler missed an open three-pointer on the last possession of the game, which may have been the first shot he missed all series, Miami moved on to the Eastern Conference Finals. I've kind of stayed away from Derrick Rose-bashing in the blog during the series. It's tired, but more importantly, why reverse-jinx him into playing and scoring 35 points? Still, this game in particular, with his idol Dwyane fighting through pain to win a game, makes Rose look like an absolute zero. He pooped on his teammates, he pooped on his coach, he pooped on his organization (and stole their money), and I'm sure, at some point during the series, he literally pooped on the Bulls bench. Simple logic dictates that he had to, he literally never moved from that spot on the bench, at some point he must have had to make a poop. Dwyane is glassy-eyed on the court from the pain, he looks like he does when he gets the migraines. It's a given something is really wrong with his knee - the day the Heat's season ends, he goes for surgery, right? Meanwhile, Rose sits there watching, totally healthy, with a steamy treasure in his diapers. Why does everyone assume Derrick Rose will play next season? What changes between now and then? I'm not a big fan of his approach towards his job. And, as a final word, deep down every Bulls fan feels exactly the same way, from Steve Kerr and Mike Wilbon right on down the line. They know their guy punked them. And it hurts.
3) You know how Miami got back into the game after trailing by 8 to start the fourth quarter? KJ James, right? Nah. He was solid, and played big down the stretch but didn't dominate throughout. Oh, Chris Bosh? No, he was pretty solid on both ends, but got limited by foul trouble. Emcee Chalmers and the MARIO CHALMERS SHIRT? I mean, he would have, if only Coach Spo would play him in a fourth quarter. Of course, it was Shane Battier and Norris Cole! Battier, who along with all the other Heat shooters, struggled mightily in this series, made back-to-back threes, then got fouled on a third try and made 2 free throws. Eight quick points for suburban dad guy! Cole created a transition bucket when he pushed the ball as hard as possible, then flipped a perfect Birdy-Oop up over his shoulder for a Chris Andersen jam. After a bizarre, and extremely rare, double-botched call by Bennett Salvatore and his crew (more on that in #4) threatened to curtail the Heat's momentum, Cole scored his only two buckets of the game, a little wing jump shot, then a fake-wing-jump-shot-curl-down-the-lane-look-Boozer-off-and-jam-on-Joakim-Noah to give the Heat the lead. Battier - you expect him to come up big in tough spots. But now Norris Cole is starting to feel a little "clutch-guy-y," if that is a word, which it is not. Also, I don't believe in the concept of "clutch," really. But I do believe in being aggressive in big moments, and Norris is nothing if not aggressive. Starting to love that boy...
4) Any game in which Bennett Salvatore is involved is going to have a lot of really odd moments. He's not just the worst referee in the NBA, he's worse at his job than anyone except the dude in Cleveland who kidnapped the kids (you're a bus driver, your only job is to get kids from point A to point B safely. You kidnapped them. You can't be much worse at your job than that). There were several different calls throughout the game that Salvatore made which the other two refs (Tony Brothers and Mike Callahan) were forced to step in and change: "sorry, Bennett, but this is an actual game, I have to change that one." On a Jimmy Butler steal on a pass intended for KJ James, he called a foul on Butler, then after thinking about it post-whistle changed it to a foul on James, then ruled it a clear path foul, which was technically the correct ruling since James was behind Butler, then looked at the replay, realized that neither guy had touched each other, and left it as a foul on James, but rescinded the clear path part of the foul - he screwed both teams on the same call! But even worse, with the Heat charging in the fourth quarter, James sprinted out with a loose ball, with Norris Cole well ahead of everyone on the other end. James jumped to pass the ball, and Nate Robinson came flying directly at James, made no play on the ball, went up high, and hit James in the face. One, it was a blatant flagrant foul - that's what the rule is for, so that you can't do that, so that you can't hit a guy in the face. It doesn't really matter if you were trying to or not, it's dangerous, you aren't playing the ball, and, by the way, Nate Robinson is 5'8", he literally had to jump up to hit KJ in the face. Two, I've seen that play called a clear path foul often this season - if a teammate is clear to the rim, and the defender grabs the passer, refs have called clear path. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. I just read the clear path rule - it's now clear why the rule isn't clear to the refs, because it is poorly written. It doesn't clearly address a situation like this one. In any case, one way or another, Miami was sure to get two shots and the ball. And, it had been ruled a flagrant foul on the court. Instead, the refs emerged from a twenty minute replay review, during which Bulls fan Steve Kerr, announcing the game for TNT, bitterly complained that James had snapped his head back on purpose - James is running full-speed one direction, Robinson full-speed right at him and punched him in the face, yes, I am sure KJ flopped - and announced it was not a flagrant foul, just a regular foul, so Miami didn't get the sure layup on the other end, and didn't get any free throws. Coach Spo asked Salvatore could he go back and look to make sure it wasn't a clear path foul, but Salvatore told Spo that he would not look. Great, thanks, you bus-driving kidnapper! We got double-kidnapped, twice on the same play! In any case, it seemed like it could be a crucial turn of events, but then Norris and Dwyane won the game, and ended the series. The end. Epilogue: be prepared for between 4 and 7 games of "Steve Kerr: World's Biggest Pacers Fan" over the next two weeks - all Eastern Conference games are on TNT. That won't be irritating at all.
5) Cry, Joakim Noah! C'mon, cry! I know you want to! I see the tears welling up in your eyes, you can't hide it behind that girly, tangled mess of hair, you petulant little child! Cry! We've played you twice in the playoff and we are 8-2 against you! Cuhhhh-ryyyyy!!! You got another technical foul tonight for slapping Shane Battier on a rebound - if my count is accurate, that was your 34th t of the series. That's a lot of extra points for Miami - thanks! Wahhhhhhhh!!!
6) Great friend of the blog Snets asks: "A woman was kicked off a flight for singing a Whitney Houston song – what would be allowed?
I did not see this story. I am a veryyy nervous flier, and a flight can produce bizarre behavior from me. One time on a trip from Florida to Connecticut, I sang a medley of Huey Lewis songs for three straight hours while M.Minutos sat with her head in her hands from embarrassment (I couldn't stop, I was too uptight). G.F.O.B. Plumber recently went to a Huey Lewis concert, and it was his second one in less than a year, I believe. You have to really, really dislike music, and yourself, to do that. Or, be trapped on a plane for three hours with the complete belief that you are going to plunge 30,000 feet out of the sky and die a fiery death. In fairness, Plumber was never a huge music guy. Also, he may or may not have been partially responsible for Davy Jones' death.
I told you all the Bulls stink, I was right. Who got the juice now? WHO GOT THE JUICE NOW??? Pacers series can not start until Monday, and perhaps as late as next Wednesday. Either way: weekend off! That series is going to be tough no matter what, but especially with Dwyane so banged up. If you need me before Monday (or Wednesday), I'll be workin' for a livin'. Man, I want a new drug. Long live Dwyane Wade!!