The Chicago Bulls cushion to win the #1 seed in the East just grew a whole lot more comfortable with a Miami loss tonight. The Heat were going back to Cleveland in what we'd expected to be another easy Miami victory. The Cleveland caught fire.
Caught up in the emotion of the crowd, Miami choked and Cleveland launched an onslaught of threes and great defense. Cleveland built up a 19 point lead, but I know I wasn't convinced they could hold on.
Miami quickly charged back. Dwyane Wade knocked down a couple threes, the Heat got a three point play, and the lead disappeared fast. After a controversial overrule to give the Cavs a three point play at the end of the third, the air was sucked out of the arena.
Miami fought all the way back to tie the game, and quite honestly, I gave up on the Cavs at that point. Then they charged back again. The Cavs got hit in the face, and unlike the rest of the season, they punched back and took it right back to the Heat. They drew fouls, knocked down more threes and played great defense.
In the end, the Cavs walked away with a comfortable lead, and the Heat fell back to three games in the loss column behind Chicago.
The Bulls magic number against Miami now stands at six with nine games left to play. Their magic number against Boston remains at eight with nine games left to play. Given the current trends of all teams, the Bulls look like they're still on track for the #1 seed.
The game also serves as a reminder to panicking Bulls fans that all teams drop games sometimes, even to bad teams.