Cole Fills ‘Nate’ Role Off Miami’s Bench


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CHICAGONate Robinson has been doing a Derrick Rose impersonation for the Chicago Bulls lately, which is tough enough against a Miami Heat defense that often makes life miserable for the real McCoy. But where that really hurts Chicago is off the bench, where no one is available to mimic Robinson’s instant offense and energy in reserve.

The closest thing this Eastern Conference semifinal series has to a Robinson impersonator, in fact, comes from the Miami side. His name: Norris Cole. The Heat’s backup point guard scored 18 points in the home rout of Game 2, but backed that up with 18 more – in far more clutch circumstances – in Miami’s 104-94 Game 3 victory Friday at United Center.

The flat-topped point guard in his second season from Cleveland State played all 12 minutes in the fourth quarter and, with seven points, outscored everybody in Chicago’s lineup in the period. Cole’s driving finger-roll with four minutes left got the Heat’s cushion to four points and his 3-pointer two minutes later bumped the lead to 96-88, essentially the game-winner.

“Norris is a tough competitor,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “He was most noticed for his 3s and driving down the lane tonight, but he made big plays for us all night.”

Cole, with starter Mario Chalmers, has made life difficult for Robinson the past two games, throwing traps at him and working to get or keep the ball out of his hands. The 5-foot-9 irrepressible force hustled his way to 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds but needed 42 minutes to get them; Cole worked more in Robinson’s normal range and ratio, his 18 points coming in 24:27.

“He kind of got hot late,” Chicago’s Taj Gibson said. “When you’re playing with three future Hall of Famers, guys are going to get open looks. … That team has a lot of guys playing with a lot of confidence.”

Shooting that way, too. Cole has taken eight 3-point shots in the series so far and made them all. He has hit 10-of-13 this postseason, including the four-game sweep of Milwaukee in the first round, and he is shooting 64.1 percent overall (57.7 on 2-point attempts).

“I think it’s just the reps,” Cole said of his accuracy after Game 3. “I work a lot with coach Dan Craig before practice and every night back in Miami. I have my shooting session late at night. I just am putting up a lot of reps and understand the spacing of our team. And have the confidence to knock it down.”

Last year, Cole averaged just 8.9 minutes in the Heat’s 19 playoff games, his role diminished by Spoelstra’s use of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade as de facto point guards. This postseason, Chalmers and Cole (22.3 mpg) have handled their position and duties more fully, with the backup earning his increased responsibility.

“With experience comes comfort,” Cole said. “I’m seeing things more than one time and I’m able to adjust.”

The Bulls have seen Cole as a problem for two consecutive games now. They’d better be able to adjust.

54 Comments

  1. James says:

    Really proud of Norris Cole. He has the potential to become a really terrific point guard if he keeps working at it. He’s constantly improving and thats all you want players to do over time. From one player to another GOOD LUCK COLE, AND KEEP PLAYING HARD!!!

  2. nikoi says:

    Legends are made in the playoffs, who will be that guy on your team? http://bit.ly/13eLC5w

    Kobe and LeBron may be All-Stars, but who ruled the hard court without playing on famous annual weekend? http://bit.ly/13eLyTo

  3. whatsTHAT says:

    bad bad referees…..when officiating happens…

  4. DJ1tyme says:

    Its true that Cole is fearless. So many games i’d see him get the fast break and drive to the hoop only to get swatted. It happened maybe once a game? But he still goes hard every time, he does not care. That’s fearless right there.

  5. Go Thibs-Go Nate-Go Bulls!!!

  6. ThibsIZdatU? says:

    How many posts did coach Thibs sent in this thread? with different names.. lol. Its common sense Chicago, if you play physical you are bound to get more fouls against you. The statements from Noah,Gibson and Thibs himself are testament to the physicality they are going to do on the court. “We’ll come out swinging” hahaha.. it’s not the 70′s anymore Gibson where “swinging” is IN.. lol. and it’s not baseball either.. go figure!!

  7. jack23 says:

    lot of BOOOLS fans crying babies here,..all the REFS and STERN,..cmon dont you think this is not your league? is this the right time time to accused such?….lol this crazy crying babies are desperate, hope norris will help again to win game4 so this LEGACY these bulls fans are claiming will be over,..

  8. d'rose says:

    BUGHA! ANG MIAMI

  9. RocketsFan says:

    Derrick Rose needs to come back to save the bulls. The series is 2-1 and is clearly going towards a 4-1 unless some miracle of sorts happen.

  10. Guy G says:

    Chicago Bulls : Please play smart Basketball. Don’t play stupid.
    Go Heat!!!!!!!

  11. arsicolangbayan says:

    Norris Cole plays with a big heart, and that’s what you expect from your X-factor. He is definitely a steal in the 2011 draft!

  12. Jonathon says:

    As Bulls fan, I do not like to see someone dominate CHI. However, Cole has put in the hard work and effort.

    His work ethic seems to be paying off and I hope to see him do well over his career.

    I always respect strong guards who put in extra hours of work to make their team better, even if it’s at the Bulls’ expense!

  13. mee(a)t says:

    even when theres a story on norris, Lebron still gets mentioned

  14. Tony says:

    I’ve always called N. Cole mini-Wade since last year. He has the potential to be the next D. Wade.

  15. En Bee Ei says:

    Roll or Role?

  16. karmaouz says:

    “I don’t need to flop,” James said. “I play an aggressive game. I don’t flop. I’ve never been one of those guys.” -
    -So, you are lying too, its a combo with floppers (a flop is a lie on the court) .
    and, you WAS overrated, even if here for the flops there is no “feelings” involved, it’s easy, WATCH YOUR GAMES. just watch it, because i dont think you do. maybe you watch some parts, but not everything. So lebron, just watch entirely your last 10 games, and see who is full of sheet. really just be quiet or you will be hated again like before your title. unhappy because we say you are a flopper, ok, but you are one. 80% heat crew is cultuvating the flop thing, cmon. pfff

    • who cares? says:

      lol!

    • TT says:

      you need some anger management my friend

    • LOLblaming the refs is just weak says:

      LMFAO all these bulls fans crying about refs giving it to the Heat, its literally the weakest excuse in sports history Im not even a bulls fan and i think they have the best bench in the NBA and the hardest workers also probably the most resiliant but their ONLY plan to contain LBJ and the Heat in total is to foul and play extremely physical defense which is great and all but trust me if you plan on being so physical your definalty going to get called for it and REFS will never call a foul on every possesion it would ruin the game you idiots.

    • Be Realistic says:

      Shut up Hater! your rant was very annoying.

  17. lolzor says:

    When taj says three future hofers I hope he means dwade LBJ and ray Allen. Bostritch ain’t no hofer even if he becomes a fifteen time allstar

  18. Terrible officiating in this series…but people need to realize that these referees are instructed to do so per NBA headquarters top dogs(stern and company)..is so obvious!! Everyone sees the referees blowing up calls left and right but the officials themselves don’t!? Common now. Is lebron James going to get a fine for the flop when Mohamed shoved him? Because is clear it was a flop! Is Mohamed going to allow Mohamed to play the next game?The rule states that an ejection for an altercation calls for an automatic next game suspension..it would be real funny if they allow him to play game 4…because if they do so why was he thrown out to begin with?

  19. MHM 35 says:

    So… Is it Miami Heat fans saying Norris Cole is the next Dwyane Wade or just people who don’t know anything?

    Norris Cole is a good solid basketball player. He hasn’t showed anything resembling Hall of Fame talent. And this is coming from someone who can’t stand Wade.

    Think a bit before you type and flippantly compare players to future Hall of Famers. Thank you.

    • Tmau says:

      Don’t think anybody is calling Norris Cole a Hall of Famer just yet, sir.

      Ps. Chicago fans please do not complaint about officiating this season. Your team have won several ballgames with the defined strategy to foul key players and foul them hard, a strategy that was rewarded with double-technicals and other nonsense. If you live and die by the officiating, you’re going to have a bumpy ride, because over the course of a season it will most likely be evened out.

  20. ron says:

    Miami sure is getting some help from referees/Stern

    Looks like when they play, rules change.

  21. Jeff says:

    @Whatever

    Oh I agree. Bosh is a HoF player. And he’s also my favorite player, I was just playing Devil’s advocate for anyone who would argue against it. People argue he is the third best player of his team that he won the championship, and I respond with “Dennis Rodman is in the HoF.”

    • Terrible officiating in this series…but people need to realize that these referees are instructed to do so per NBA headquarters top dogs(stern and company)..is so obvious!! Everyone sees the referees blowing up calls left and right but the officials themselves don’t!? Common now. Is lebron James going to get a fine for the flop when Mohamed shoved him? Because is clear it was a flop! Is Mohamed going to allow Mohamed to play the next game?The rule states that an ejection for an altercation calls for an automatic next game suspension..it would be real funny if they allow him to play game 4…because if they do so why was he thrown out to begin with? Please don’t compare dinosaur face bosh to Dennis Rodman!! Are u crazy!?

  22. Whatever says:

    @Jeff
    What do you mean on the bubble? Bosh, on the bubble? Taj was referring to Bosh, Wade, LeBron. Of course Allen will be a Hall of Famer but Taj wasn’t referring to Allen. Bill Bradley? 12.4ppg, 3.2rpg, 3.4apg. 2 championships, ONE Allstar appearance. Not to mention all of the bench roll players from Russel’s Celtics that are in the HoF.

    I’m sorry, but if that’s HoF status, Bosh is a shoe-in. 1x NBA Champion, 8x All-Star, All-Rookie first team. Best season averaged 24/11, and the guy’s only 29 years old? Of course he’s a future Hall of Famer.

  23. Kees says:

    I feel Cole should be starting ahead of Chalmers reason being is because the Heat could use the experience off the bench.. Just think Ray and Chalmers as the back court for second lineup. Also out of all honesty I feel Cole is a better player Chalmers is just starting because he’s been there longer and knows his role but Norris is learning so I feel he should be given the chance. and as Far as this article goes it should have been simply about Cole I can care less about Nate.

  24. HAMZA says:

    YEAH I KNOW THAT WAS A LONG COOMMENT

  25. Jeff says:

    @really? What 3 Hall of Famers? Umm, how about LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Ray Allen…? Also, Bosh is on bubble. Second championship ring and it’d be hard to deny a 8x all star, and gold medal player.

  26. Jack says:

    Spoelstra calls him “pure”. By that he means Norris has no ego, just a love of the game. He is fearless and even through his struggles last season and on occasion this year, he drives, hits base line jumpers and puts up 3′s without hesitation. He loves defense as much or more than scoring (defensive player of the year in his college conference) which is unusual for small players who look to score for attention. He is not a complicated kid as his post game comments reveal a simple, basic approach to the game with lots of hard work. If he keeps his head on straight and stays humble, he could be the kind of consistent talent that big, athletic, talented but moody and full of themselves (Beasley) players struggle with.

  27. jericho says:

    I like him from the start because of the haristyle xD

  28. SANJAYKN says:

    Norris Cole is playin out of his mind !

    @ Maroko : You were right Bro, very impressive

    @ DWarner4 : ahahaha trade Cole really ? Stick with your PER LOL

  29. many says:

    Norris has been playing great. its amazing. Heat hss amazing role players; Last series bird man and ray Allen were the catalists

  30. Really? says:

    what three hall of famers. i’ve got leBron and maybe d wade

    • Really? says:

      as in when it said ““He kind of got hot late,” Chicago’s Taj Gibson said. “When you’re playing with three future Hall of Famers, guys are going to get open looks. … That team has a lot of guys playing with a lot of confidence.”

  31. love says:

    udonis haslem at the point guard position nuff said

  32. Sharon says:

    Cole is doing ‘Nate impersonation’? Have you really watched the playoffs last year? Cole is a very talented player. He is fearless. Fast and extremely motivated. Unlike the over reacting, drama queen Robinson, Cole is gamble. If anything, Nate is doing Cole. Or he wish, cause his emotions can not be controlled. In fact Bulls in general, can’t control their emotions, that is the reason the loose, it’s not ball that they play anymore.
    Cole is Cole.

  33. Tim says:

    Cole is a great player, he was able to minimized his mistakes with his experience. I love the his Speed.

  34. Fefe (Nets) says:

    Ok, they don’t have “big names”; but Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole sharing the point guard duties permit the team to have fresh point guards throughout the game (and playoffs) and obviously they have some talent.
    Really not surprised with Cole’s hot shooting and performance the past games: he has talent

  35. Kev says:

    What did you expect from someone who has the same name as Chuck Norris? :’)

  36. Bulls? THUMBS DOWN says:

    I dunno why but I think he is a better starter than chalmers. THAT IS MY OPINION. I SAY AGAIN OPINION

  37. Art says:

    It’s not easy to adjust to Cole but possible, especially if Hinrich return.
    It’s much more difficult but still possible to adjust to Lebron, especially if Deng return.
    But how Bulls can adjust to bad officiating?
    In the 1st quarter James fouled Butler. Did he receive foul? No, of course. Butler did. Then Jimmy received another one just for guarding Lebron well. Even commentator Van Gundy who admires Lebron admitted that as well as very arguable 3rd Butler’s foul. What about play when James fouled Belinelli 3 times in 5-7 seconds but foul was given to Marco? Why Noah received 5th foul 3:15 before end of 4th quarter? These are just a few examples. Overall Chicago received 8-10 fake fouls and Miami didn’t receive 10-12 for real violations. Only James had to receive 6 fouls in 1st half. Don’t believe? Watch tape and pay attention on Lebron’s left hand when he attacks and how his is moving a shoulder when sets a screen.

    • brutl says:

      Hahaha seriously 3 fouls in 5 seconds? You mean 3 FLOPS in 5 seconds by Marco?
      Chicago fouls every single play, that’s their admitted strategy, because they know it doesn’t get called every play.
      You need to get off that Haterade

    • AL says:

      Chicago fans complaining about officiating, you sound acrid .It is astounding that when the Bulls win it is resilience like game 7 against the Nets or game 1 vs the Heat,however when they lose its because of the officiating or the injuries. don’t forget 2 years ago when they had the best record in the NBA & still lost in 5.I hope the heat wrap it up on wed so that would be the end of this caustic complaints.

      • chicgo fan says:

        When it’s all said and done Miami hopes to have the legacy that Chicago has…but they will always fall short.

    • Grip says:

      stop crying and tell me all thestuff the bulls do now. I guess they dont get no call at all.

    • Lamar says:

      It’s call the Micheal Jordan rule. Chicago fans should know about this so stop crying. No fun when the rabbit have the gun. Run tell that

  38. Denver says:

    from the first time i saw him played wit Miami first person came to mind was Wade, i think he will be the nxt Dwayne Wade!!!

  39. Jack says:

    ever since he came to Miami, i was once impressed with the way he handled every possesion, i said this guy could become great player someday. maybe,…maybe this is his time now…goodluck norris!!

  40. Heatles Read Chris's FACE. says:

    Norris cole has alot of talent. I’m glad he is getting some minutes that he deserves I always knew he had alot of potential!