Late Wednesday night in the United Center, disappointed Chicago fans walked past two symbols of the city's former greatness, Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen, in a hallway outside the Heat locker room.

"Can we still win?" a man in a Bulls cap asked Pippen.

"Are those guys gonna look like that the rest of the way?" Pippen said, jerking a thumb toward the Heat.

That's the question now. Is Wednesday who the Heat are? It replaces other questions the Heat answered for weeks. Like: What happened to Erick Dampier? Like: Why isn't Zydrunas Ilgauskas playing and Jamaal Magloire is?

Like: When's Udonis Haslem ready?

"I was getting tired of that one,'' Haslem said.

Down the hall from Rodman and Pippen, Heat President Pat Riley stood talking with team owner Micky Arison. Chicago got a painful dose in Game 2 of what Riley conceived when he assembled this roster last summer.

Haslem's return was like dropping a quarter in a winning slot machine. Everything aligned for the first time since his November injury. It was such a welcome return, and an emotional performance, that the publicly reserved Arison hugged Haslem at the end by the Heat bench.

And why not? Haslem's contribution went beyond his 13 points and five rebounds. Try this: Chicago's strong frontline had 14 offensive rebounds in the 25 minutes Haslem didn't play. It had three offensive rebounds in the 23 minutes Haslem played.

Suddenly with Haslem, the Heat's frontline problems disappeared, players returned to proper roles, talents could be more appreciated and weaknesses could be swept under the rug.

Take Mike Miller. For months, Miller has disappointed as a sharpshooter who doesn't shoot much. He took two shots in 18 minutes of Game 2, made one, and that's not uncommon in his play.