Postscripts from the Heat’s series-clinching 94-91 Game 5 win against Chicago on Wednesday night:
### Good to see Dwyane Wade come alive with three baskets in the fourth, including two nifty floaters and a dunk.
“This was the best I felt in all of the playoffs,” Wade said, noting the importance of taking “a mental day yesterday” when he didn't think about basketball.
Wade said of the doubters: “That’s my life. That has always been what I’ve tried to overcome. I understand certain things said. I’m harder on myself than anybody. I would love to be one of those guys that was never injured…. But that’s not in the cards for me. Hopefully, when I walk away from this game, I’ll get the respect my game deserves.”
Said LeBron: “He’s a Hall of Famer. He has two rings. He doesn’t have to prove himself to anybody. When he’s out on the floor, no matter what the stat sheet says, he’s a threat… What he did in the fourth quarter, to come in with two Euro steps and a tip dunk…. I could go on and on about how great he is. I don’t care for the trash talk he receives.”
Said Chris Bosh: “Dwyane is incredible, the way he finished that game. I know a lot of people were giving him that question mark. Even if he was going to play, they weren't really sure what he would bring.”
### LeBron – who closed with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists – said: “This was a tough series. I have no energy left. We understand how tough the playoffs are. It’s tough to beat a team four times."
### Norris Cole hit a big three in the fourth and ended up shooting 9 for 11 on threes in this series. His fourth-quarter dunk erased the Bulls' final lead of the game with 5:51 left.
### Shane Battier hit just 8 of 28 shots in this series -- all of his attempts were three-pointers -- but he hit two big ones to fuel the Heat's rally from eight down early in the fourth.
### Joakim Noah can’t wait to play the Heat again in postseason, but with Derrick Rose and Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich available, unlike this series. “We are going to come back healthy and be able to compete with these guys for a long time,” Noah said. “One day, we’ll get our shot.”
### Carlos Boozer – who had game highs in points (26) and rebounds (14) – said if the Bulls are healthy in next year’s playoffs, “We’ll be scary.”
### The Heat has lost Game 1 of a playoff series three times in the Big Three era. They’ve come back to win the next four games all three times.
### The Heat is the first team to advance to three consecutive conference finals since the Lakers (2008-10) and the first Eastern Conference team to do it since the Pistons went six seasons in a row (2003-08).
### Just as it did after dispatching the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, the Heat could be facing another long layoff before its next playoff series.
If the Knicks stave off elimination by beating the Pacers on Thursday night, then the Eastern Conference Finals would not begin until Wednesday, with games to be played every other day.
But if the Pacers beat the Knicks to close out their series on Thursday, the Heat-Pacers Eastern Conference Finals would start Monday. There likely would be several days off between Games 2 and 3 of the series.
The Heat had an eight-day layoff after beating Milwaukee and wasn’t sharp in a Game 1 loss to Chicago.
### This was Miami's first single digit win this postseason. They won the other seven games by an average of 18.4 points per game.... The Heat is now 74-17 this season, including postseason.
### Sports Illustrated’s list of the highest-paid U.S. athletes includes James at No. 2 ($56.5 million), Wade 11th (at $28.6 million) and Bosh 47th (at $18.5 million). Those figures are obviously supplemented by endorsements. As far as salary, James and Bosh are earning $17.5 million this season, Wade $17 million.
### Bosh said James’ new free throw technique makes him look “like a 6-8 version” of Ray Allen. “That’s the only difference.” James has tried to emulate Allen’s technique on free throws and made 19 of 20 in Games 3 and 4. He was 12 for 15 in Game 5.
“They spend a lot of time together after practice,” Spoelstra said. “Free throw shooting is an area he wants to improve. There’s no better person to go to than Ray Allen.”
Besides signing quarterback Aaron Corp on Wednesday (see our last post), the Dolphins also claimed receiver Marvin McNutt off waivers from Philadelphia.
The Eagles' sixth-round pick last season, McNutt spent most of last season on the practice squad but was active for four games but did not catch a pass.
As a senior at Iowa in 2011, he caught 82 passes for 1315 yards and 12 touchdowns. His offensive coordinator at Iowa was Ken O'Keefe, now the Dolphins' receivers coach.
McNutt will compete with Armon Binns, Rishard Matthews and four undrafted rookies for the Dolphins' No. 4 and No. 5 receiver jobs.