Slammed by Haslem – Miami squares the East Finals 1-game apiece

Udonis Haslem came up big in Game 2
(image by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Udonis Haslem was there when Dwyane Wade hoisted his first, and so far only, title back in 2006. He has to be there if LeBron James is to hoist his own title.

If Game 2 made anything abundantly clear, it was this: at this level, against a team like the Bulls, Miami needs to find its own anti-Noah, and that person is Haslem.

In 23 minutes, he put up 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block. Not really stratospheric numbers, but they were definitely huge against a Chicago team that outhustled and outrebounded the Heat in Game 1. This time around, Spo’s boys turned the tables.
The MVP struggled with
his shot
(image by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

But the first quarter didn’t exactly foreshadow that. The first period was more an extension of Game 1, with Chicago streaking towards the hole, playing great D, hitting impossible shots (hello Luol Deng), and LeBron missing a dunk. And then the Heat finally woke up.

They outscored Chicago 66-49 the rest of the way to tie the series up and snag home court advantage. Now, the Bulls suddenly look oh so vulnerable.

All the Game 1 heroes for coach Thib were mere shells in Game 2. Derrick Rose scored 21 points, but shot just 7-of-23 field goals. Deng waxed hot in the first canto with 9 markers, but only managed 4 the rest of the way. And the much-ballyhooed Carlos Boozer had just 8 rebounds and 7 points on 3-of-10 shooting.

Nobody got the job done for the Bulls.

Except, perhaps, for Taj Gibson in the 4th quarter. The young gun shot all 8 of his points then, and quite nearly engineered a Chicago fight-back, but even his heroics were not enough to quell the searing Heat. LeBron James closed out the game with some big shots to avoid putting his team in a 0-2 hole.

Tom Thibodeau has to figure out a
way to steal one in Florida
(image by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Now the Coach of the Year and the Most Valuable Player will have to find a way to steal at least one in South Beach, where the world’s most valuable troika of superstars looks to bury the Bulls deep.

The Bulls had a tough time against Indiana, and were driven to 6 games by Atlanta, but they haven’t faced anyone like Miami. They beat the Heat 4 straight times (3 in the regular season plus Game 1) before Miami finally exorcised them in Game 2, but if Chicago isn’t careful this could be the death-knell for them. For a team as talented and explosive as Miami, it only takes one win for the floodgates to burst.

And it’s all thanks to Udonis Haslem getting back, and slamming his business on the Bulls.

Carlos Boozer sat out the final 16 minutes.
His play didn't really make anybody miss him.
(image by the AP)
The Bulls have to regroup and rediscover their play
to succeed in Miami
(image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
LeBron James made everyone forget about his Game 1 snafu
(image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Dwyane Wade was more productive this time around
(image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Game 2 recap:

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