“Obviously we’re disappointed in losing the series,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “But I was never disappointed in our team. I thought our team fought hard all year long. There was no quit in them.”
True — all the way to the end.
A team that played without the 2011 NBA MVP in Rose, and dealt with a slew of other issues along the way, was within a couple shots from forcing the reigning champions to fly back to Chicago for a Game 6 on Friday night.
“We’ve got warriors here,” Boozer said. “If we’re healthy next season, we’re going to be pretty good.”
Shane Battier opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to get Miami within five. Another 3-pointer from Battier — over Boozer, his fellow Duke alum — came not long afterward, and he connected on a pair of free throws after being fouled on a 3-point try to cut Chicago’s lead to 81-79.
Norris Cole had a pair of baskets, the second being a left-handed driving dunk, to put Miami on top, and the Heat found a way to close it out from there, even though it wasn’t easy, by any measure.
Robinson’s 3-pointer with 1:43 left got the Bulls to 94-91. No one scored again, even though there were plenty of chances both ways.
When it was finally over, the Heat lingered on the court in celebration. Wade held on to the game ball as he shook a few fans’ hands, and he, James and Bosh exchanged some high-fives — the last three Miami players to leave the floor.
“I had a good couple of minutes,” Wade said. “I knew they’ve seen a lot of LeBron and Norris. I knew they weren’t prepared for me to attack which is what I was able to do.”