Before the Heat practiced Monday, coach Erik Spoelstra noticed something different about Udonis Haslem. And it had nothing to do with Haslem's injured left foot that forced him to miss all but 13 games of the regular season. "There was something, a look in his eye, that I knew it was time," Spoelstra said. When Haslem has it, the Heat have the look of a champion — as they regained Wednesday night in an 85-75 victory over the Bulls. Don't go editing your basketball math books. Don't start thinking two really is greater than five because LeBron James and Dwyane Wade finally showed up to give the Heat a mini-version of Jordan and Pippen in beating the more team-oriented Bulls. Without Haslem, nothing adds up to a winning Heat equation. Without Haslem, Miami's Big Two would be feeling little. "That's what we have been missing," Wade said. That's what the Bulls have been dreading, the emergence of a gritty role player that makes the sum of the Heat more than just some great parts. Oh, James and Wade hit clutch shots and took turns taking command the way they failed to in Game 1, the way superstars are supposed to in games this important. But the biggest reason the Heat head back to South Florida feeling confident after wresting home-court advantage from the Bulls? It wasn't James scoring 29 and Wade adding 24. It was Haslem, the man with the corn rows who made the Bulls big men look ragged trying to keep up.
Haslem difference for Heat
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | May 19