Tag: Heat Bulls Game 3

Miami Heat v Chicago Bulls - Game One

Joakim Noah fined $50,000 by league for gay slur


The Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has been fined $50,000 for using a “derogatory and offensive term” against a fan, something caught by TNT cameras during the Bulls Sunday night Game 3 loss in Miami.

The term, a derogatory term for a gay person, is the same one used by Kobe Bryant in the regular season, something that cost him $100,000.

Noah’s situation was a little different, he said it to a heckling fan (Kobe said it to a referee) and Noah was very apologetic right after the game. He admitted he cross the line. (Kobe also apologized and did a public service announcement asking people not to use the word.)

The league confirmed to CBSSports’ Eye on Basketball that the larger fine for Kobe was because he said it to a game official. Usually the league is more protective of the rich folk who can afford seats close enough to heckle players, but that is the official reasoning.

This fine seems appropriate. As our own John Krolik has said before, freedom of speech is different from freedom from consequences. Noah is paying a price for his actions, which seems fair.

Video: Chris Bosh gets it going, drops 34 on Bulls

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Three

It’s one of the things that makes the Heat such a tough matchup — their third offensive option is frighteningly good.

Chris Bosh got it going on Sunday night back home, taking it to Carlos Boozer and the rest of the Chicago Bulls, dropping 34 points on them. He got some space early, knocked down his shots (well, he missed his first three but he kept after it) and hit 11 of his last 13 shots. Contested or not, long jumper or dunk, once he got going he was a force.

It is one of the big challenges the Bulls face — they defend Bosh better with backup Taj Gibson, but Boozer had 26 points and 17 rebounds, so how do you sit him? The Bulls have some real questions to answer.

NBA Playoffs: Can Bulls find answers to Heat’s questions?

Heat's James and Haslem celebrate a basket against the Bulls during Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Finals NBA basketball series in Miami

LeBron James didn’t really get going as a scorer (holding him to 22 points is keeping them in check). Same with Dwyane Wade who had just 17 points. The Bulls grabbed 32.5 percent of their missed shots for offensive rebounds. The Bulls limited the Heat’s transition points. Carlos Boozer put up 26 points with 17 boards.

A lot of things went right for the Bulls — and they still lost 96-85. They now trail 2-1 to the Heat.

If all those things to right and they lose, what does it take for them to win? Game 3 felt like the Heat starting to take control of the series.

The battle of the power forwards — Chris Bosh outscoring and outplaying Boozer — will be the big storyline. And that mattered. Bosh dropped 34 and was key in the second and fourth quarters.

But that was part of a larger issue for the Bulls — the Heat’s schemes and matchups are asking questions of the Bulls they seem to have no answers for. Like where is the second scorer for the Bulls? And if all three of Miami’s top three get going, does it matter? Sure, the Bulls are only one game down in this series. But can they find enough answers to those questions to win three of the next four games? Because that is what it will take to advance.

The most important of those questions is who will score if Derrick Rose can’t? Rose is facing hard double teams, walls of players when he attacks the rim, and the result has been forcing someone else to score. During the regular season he was relentless and just found a way to get it done, that’s why he is MVP. But in the playoffs he needs help.

“It always comes down to your three primary scorers,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said in a postgame press conference on NBA TV. “You have to try to make it hard on those three. That’s the case with every team.”

The Heat didn’t make it hard on Boozer, who was the secondary scorer for the Bulls with his 26 points on 19 shots in Game 3.

But that came with a cost — Boozer is not a good defender and his primary assignment with Bosh. And Bosh went off. He had room to operate early and got his confidence, then by the end was spinning into the middle off a poorly-positioned Boozer for crowd-pleasing dunks. Taj Gibson off the bench is a better defender than Boozer and Gibson brings some offense, but this is one of the challenges Thibodeau and the Bulls face — do you sit a hot scorer for more defense? The Bulls face the same issue at the two with Ronnie Brewer or Kyle Korver. Off the bench

Erik Spoelstra doesn’t face that offense-for-defense issue — Bosh, LeBron, Wade all are good at both ends. It makes the Heat that much more difficult.

The other issue the Bulls face is who is their third scorer? Luol Deng? He can shoot and dropped 14 in this one, but is he steady enough and really a big enough threat?

This game had an interesting twist in the Bulls offense, — when the double came to Rose he slid the ball to Joakim Noah near the free throw line. Then when the defense came at Noah he made some nifty passes to Boozer and others, leading to Noah having six assists on the night. But by the fourth quarter the Heat had adjusted and they didn’t send anyone to Noah — they dared him to beat them with a jumper or on the drive. Neither worked, and the Bulls offense struggled. It is easier to make the Bulls struggle.

Meanwhile, the Heat found their offensive groove. Their third scorer is a former All-Star in Bosh who can do a lot of damage (as he has in tow of the three games this series). The Bulls couldn’t stop the Heat once they got going — in the last three quarters the Heat shot 60 percent (second), 50 percent (third) and 56 percent (fourth). The Heat are getting their points against the best defense in the league.

The Heat also are getting enough rebounds, with Wade leading the team with nine. They are causing problems with their pressure defense. They are taking control of the game.

The series is far from over. But those are a lot of areas for the Bulls to fix, and not with easy answers. Bosh may well not shoot as well next game, but James and Wade likely will shoot better.

Maybe the Bulls have answers. Maybe this series will head back to the United Center for Game 5 tied 2-2. But it’s not easy to see how right now, because they have no easy answers to some very difficult questions.

Heat’s Haslem sits out practice Friday just as precaution

Miami Heat's Udonis Haslem celebrates a basket against the Chicago Bulls during Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference Finals playoff basketball game in Chicago

Udonis Haslem, the man off the bench that helped change the Heat’s fortunes in Game 2 and even the series, sat out practice Friday because of his surgically repaired foot.

Relax Heat fans, it’s just precautionary. Deep breathes.

Haslem stayed out of running drills, according to a tweet from our man Ira Winderman with the Sun-Sentinel. If there had been a game tonight Haslem could have gone, but with time off until Sunday he got some rest.

He told 790 The Ticket in Miami he is feeling just fine (via Sports Radio Interviews).

“I feel pretty good. My foot’s feeling pretty good. I’ve just got to tip my hat to the training staff. … So far, everything’s going the way we planned it.”

Haslem played 23 minutes against the Bulls in Game 2 and provided the toughness and rebounding they needed. Not to mention a block on Derrick Rose, a few points and one emphatic dunk. He was a game changer.

The Heat need him to be again on Sunday for Game 3, so he got to rest on Friday.