Chicago put the pressure on Miami Saturday night but the savvy vets of the Heat were hold on for a win. Between Udonis Haslem getting tossed from the game for tossing his “grills” at Joey Crawford to Dwayne Wade holding his knee it’s clear that Miami’s in for an uphill battle in their opening round match-up against the Baby Bulls.
Things started to get rocky for the Heat in the second quarter when Udonis Haslem tossed for throwing his mouthpiece, umm, I mean “grills,” at Joey Crawford. Haslem felt that he had been hacked on the previous play so on his way back to his feet in a moment of stupidity he tossed his mouth guard at Crawford. The veteran official couldn’t tell what was thrown his way but he immediately tossed Haslem for the game and the League may suspend Udonis for the Heat’s next game as well. This ejection hurts the Heat because they are already playing without Alonzo Mounrning. Now without Haslem and Mourning the Heat don’t have any toughness or rebounding outside of Shaquille O’Neal and will need to give extended minutes to Antoine Walker.
Dwayne Wade got a wake-up call in the second quarter when he was mugged by two Bulls in the paint. Before getting hacked Wade was 2-7 from the field but the foul serves as a wake-up call as he scored five points in the remaining minutes of the second quarter to finish the half with 12 points. Wade continued to get beat up and in the fourth quarter he was shown grimacing and holding his knee numerous times. Preliminary reports indicate that Wade’s discomfort was due to cramping but Heat fans will be holding their breath until they see a healthy Wade playing full speed Thursday night. It’s clear that Wade was slowed by something tonight as he went 4 for 13 from the field and only had 16 points.
The Baby Bulls game out and play hard throughout the game, weathering a couple surges by the Heat and then going on a couple scoring spurts of their own. It’s clear that the Bulls young players aren’t intimidated by the Heat and they are thirsty for the upset. Heading into the series they were overmatched in the post but with Mourning still out and Haslem probably missing the next game due a suspension the Bulls have a golden opportunity to even up the series.
The Miami Heat have billed their playoff season as White Hot Heat and they had their fans show up to the game wearing white shirts. The idea reminds of Winnipeg Jets games back in the ‘80's and looked great on television, it’s just a shame that the Heat didn’t play as well as their fans looked. This week on Killer Crossover I billed the Heat as one of the teams the could end up playing in the NBA Finals but after watching them play tonight I’m doubting this prediction. If the Heat can’t shake their nagging injuries and use their experience they will give Chicago a chance to pull of f the first round upset.
Sun 04/23/06, 8:30 am EST