Wade’s Heat defeated the Bulls in five games in the Eastern Conference Finals that year, but beforehand, it looked like Chicago had their number, as the Bulls swept Miami during the regular season.
The Bulls also took Game 1 of that playoff series in a blowout, leading many to believe that Chicago was just a matchup that Wade, LeBron James and Co. could not crack.
Of course, the Heat went on to win four straight games to win that series and advance to the Finals, but not without taking some bruises along the way:
“I think, ultimately for us, we just had a little bit more talent,” said Wade, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “And even though we beat them in five, it wasn’t that easy. They definitely made us work for it. But we were just a more talented team. They played as hard as any team that we ever played.”
With a Big Three of Wade, James and Chris Bosh, Miami certainly had more talent and should have won that series, but some of those games were tough for the Heat, particularly the closeout Game 5 in which they won by a score of 83-80.
That was the Bulls’ peak, as Rose went on to tear his ACL during Game 1 of the playoffs the following year. From that point on, Chicago has never been the same.
Miami lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the Finals during that 2011 season, but then went on to win back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.