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Thursday, May 26, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Heat 83, Bulls 80

By Nick Friedell



CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Miami Heat earned an unbelievable 83-80 win in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Thursday night at the United Center. The Heat win the series 4-1.

How it happened: The Bulls blew it. Completely blew it. They were up 12 with 3:12 left, seven with 1:46 left and still managed to lose. Derrick Rose had a 3-point attempt stuffed by LeBron James at the buzzer as the Bulls' season ended. The Bulls shot just 36 percent from the field and could not make a single play down the stretch on either end of the floor. Chicago fans will be talking about this meltdown for a long, long time.

What it means: The Bulls talked and talked about how postseason experience didn't matter. They were wrong. They couldn't close out a game when it mattered over the past week and absolutely melted down in this one. Quite simply, they thought they had the game won and forgot to finish it off. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade took over scoring huge baskets in the final minutes. Tom Thibodeau has prided himself on the fact that this team has always been mentally prepared. These Bulls simply unraveled in this one, leaving the United Center crowd in a stunned silence after it was over. The Bulls will learn from this experience, but it will take a long time for this team to get over this kind of game.

Stat of the night: James, Wade and Chris Bosh scored all 26 of the Heat's fourth-quarter points.

What's next: The Bulls' season is over. They will not be able to forget this game all summer.