Bulls eliminated from playoffs after 94-91 Game 5 Heat win
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org May 15, 2013 8:42PM
Miami Heat's LeBron James dunks during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal against the Chicago Bulls, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Updated: May 15, 2013 11:23PM
MIAMI – Nate Robinson was hoping to someday tell his kids a “beautiful story.’’
It would start with the 2012-13 Bulls down 3-1 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals against the defending champs, and facing elimination, stage one of the best comebacks in franchise history.
“One thing about it is you never know when that beautiful story is going to happen,’’ Robinson said.
It wouldn’t happen on Wednesday, as the Bulls watched their season come to an end in the 94-91 loss, after a Jimmy Butler game-tying attempt missed late.
What it means now is Miami will play in its third consecutive Eastern Conference Finals, while the Bulls will watch from home, now eliminated by the Heat twice in the last three years.
The game couldn’t have started off any worse for the Bulls, as Miami looked like a team enjoying the burial.
Then again, starting the game with back-to-back airballs and then a turnover wasn’t exactly how coach Tom Thibodeau drew it up.
After the Heat sprinted out to an 18-2 lead in the first quarter, it appeared that the Bulls would have all day to clean out their practice lockers at the Berto Center on Thursday.
But that’s about the point where they started chipping away, and at the end of the first it didn’t look as bleak, trailing 30-21, but with life.
That became evident in the second quarter, thanks in large part to Robinson finally reappearing after three shaky games, scoring 11 points in the stanza, including a three-pointer just before the horn at halftime to give the Bulls a 53-47 lead. They outscored the Heat 32-17 in that quarter, and had no plans of letting up in the third.
Coming out of the half, it was all about controlling the glass and making sure any Miami miss would be a one-and-done. That’s exactly what the Bulls did, outrebounding the Heat 13-3 in that quarter, including six offensive rebounds. And while Carlos Boozer only had four points in the third, he was huge on the boards, ripping down five of them.
But Miami is built to score in bunches, and trailing 77-69 to start the fourth, a run came with two Shame Battier 3-pointers and a dunk by Chris Anderson.
After a Rip Hamilton jumper, Battier was fouled on a 3-point attempt, as Battier cut it to a two-point game with just over eight minutes left.
Miami finally grabbed the lead back with 6:49 on a Cole jumper, but Hamilton answered.
After a Cole dunk down the lane with 5:50 left, Miami looked like they had grabbed the momentum back, especially after a Dwyane Wade floater.
Wade wasn’t done, as that injured right knee that had him questionable for the game did more than check out on a put-back dunk to put Miami up 93-86 with 3:03 left. That seemed to knock the air out of the Bulls.
Boozer finished with a game-high 26 points and 14 rebounds, while Miami was led by James’ 23 points.