If you enjoyed the NBA Finals back in 2006, then you are guaranteed to be happy with this year’s edition as the Miami Heat will once again to take on the Dallas Mavericks to determine who will be the new NBA Champions. Miami punched their ticket for the Association’s big dance Thursday night as they eliminated the top seed in the East the Chicago Bulls with an 83-80 win. The Bulls seemed poised to extend the series to a sixth game as they held a double-digit lead with 3:15 remaining in the contest. Unfortunately for the fans at the United Center Chicago would score just 3 more points as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade carried the Heat to victory.
Last summer Miami acquired James and Chris Bosh for the express purpose of winning an NBA Title and now the team is just four wins away from attaining that goal. James, who came up short with the Cleveland Cavaliers once again led the way for the Heat as the All-Star forward racked up a double-double with a game high 28 points. Derrick Rose scored 25 for Chicago but had too little support from his teammates to live to play another game.
Miami took the early lead in the opening period but the Bulls would take the reins down the stretch. Luol Deng drained a 25 foot trey with 1:07 left in the quarter and Chicago would be on top 25-21 at the end of the period. Carlos Boozer knocked down a mid-range jumper with 6:05 to play in the second giving the Bulls a 37-25 advantage. However the Heat would reduce their deficit as the game reached the half with the score 45-38.
Once again the Bulls would pull ahead by double digits in the third and subsequently Miami responded. Chris Bosh hit a jump-shot with four seconds left and Chicago’s lead was just 62-57 at the conclusion of the quarter. The Bulls controlled their own destiny as Ronnie Brewer split a pair at the line with 3:14 remaining making a 77-65 affair. That is when James and Wade took over the contest each scoring eight points down the stretch as Chicago’s offense got stuck in neutral. Miami would win the game and the series.
James put up 28 points, 11 boards, 6 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in the victory for the Heat. Wade scored 21 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals while Bosh recorded a double-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, 1 assist and 1 steal.
Rose scored 25 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, a block and a steal in his last game of the season. Deng had 18 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal while Brewer chipped in 10 points, 3 rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal. Miami will host Dallas in the first game of the 2011 NBA Finals at the American Airlines Arena on Tuesday.