Watson proved to be a surprise hero

April, 13, 2012
4/13/12
1:18
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The biggest shot of C.J. Watson's Chicago Bulls' career wasn't even meant for him.

With 11. 4 seconds left and the Bulls trailing the Miami Heat 84-81, Tom Thibodeau drew up a play for Kyle Korver to come off some screens and knock down a game-tying three-pointer. When the Heat double-teamed Korver, Watson ended up being the man who had the pressure to knock down the final shot. When he got the ball in his hands, he didn't miss. It was a broken play that turned beautiful for the Bulls and sent the game into overtime.

[+] EnlargeC.J. Watson
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty ImagesC.J. Watson had 16 points and nine assists, picking up the slack for an ineffective Derrick Rose.
"It definitely wasn't for me," Watson said with a smile.

Watson finished the game with 16 points, nine assists and helped the Bulls pull out a victory. The fact that Watson did this in place of an ineffective Derrick Rose surprised everyone, including Watson.

"Yeah, because I tweaked my ankle too," Watson said. "And I didn't know if he was going to put me back in, so it was tit for tat I guess."

Rose wasn't surprised that Watson knocked down the all-important shot.

"It was great, man," Rose said. "C.J. is the luckiest guy on the team. In practice he always hits them shots. When he had the ball, we all knew that it was a chance that it was going to go in."

Watson's play, along with that of the Bench Mob, only reinforced what the Bulls already knew. They have one of the deepest benches in the league, and it could help them get past Miami if the two teams meet again in the Eastern Conference finals.

"Our bench is one of the reasons we have the record we have," Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said. "I think we have a group of guys that come off the bench that could start for other teams. We feel like we got two starting units."

On this night, it looked like the Bulls had two starting point guards as well.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5