Miami Setting Tone for Playoffs?
No, that’s not what was truly up for grabs in this final regular-season meeting between the two Eastern Conference powers. Leverage, however, was there for the taking.
The type of leverage you get with a double forearm shiver, or a forceful shove, or a teeth-rattling, where-did-he-come-from screen in the backcourt.
The type of leverage that lets the opposition know exactly what to expect should the playoffs bring another round of contentious games.
The Heat left this potential Eastern Conference finals preview with an edge. Not because of the W. But strictly because they reminded the Bulls that the old “Hollywood as hell” image no longer defines this team.
Of course, it was Bulls center Joakim Noah who dropped that memorable line about the Heat last season, which actually was followed up with a compliment for the Heat.
So it’s almost fitting that Noah was the first victim of three signature physical, borderline-dirty plays from the Heat on Thursday night. James Jones was ejected midway through the second quarter for blindsiding Noah with a double forearm near the neck area.