Like many nights on South Beach, this one started off festive. LeBron James had just been awarded his fourth NBA MVP award and the Miami Heat were jacked up about playing their first game in over a week. But like many mornings on South Beach, the Heat and their fans woke up to find themselves with a headache and looking up asking how this happened.
The Chicago Bulls, a team that resembles a patchwork quilt due to all their injuries, outhustled and outlasted the world champs to win Game 1 93-86. Derrick Rose didn’t play. Neither did Kirk Hinrich or Luol Deng. It didn’t matter as the Bulls used essentially a six man rotation and simply wouldn’t give in to the Heat. Even as Miami carried a lead in to the fourth quarter, Chicago refused to be put down. During the year the Heat were 33-0 when leading after three quarters. It didn’t matter to the Bulls, who scored 35 points in the final quarter on over 52% shooting.
Defense has been the Bulls calling card since the arrival of Head Coach Tom Thibodeau and they clamped down on the boys from South Beach big time. The MVP LeBron James had 24 and Dwyane Wade, who did come out looking refreshed, added 14. They were the only two Heat players in double figures as Chicago held Miami to less than 40%FG for the game. By comparison, five of the six players who logged big minutes for the Bulls scored in double figures. The Heat have been the best team in the NBA all year, but the M*A*S*H unit that is Chicago was the better “team” on Monday night.
Now Bron and Co. find themselves down 0-1 for the third time in the “Big 3″ era. The previous two times(Bulls ’11, Thunder ’12) Miami ran off four consecutive wins to take the series 4-1. I’m sure Heat fans are hoping for just that kind of response, however, given how brutally unwavering these Bulls have been, that’s not very likely. No, the Heat have just entered a dogfight. One that will be hard fought and probably go at least six games. Chicago is a beast when it comes to rebounding and have found some unexpected scoring from the likes of Jimmy Butler(21 pts). Miami has to counter and we can expect a much better effort in Game 2 on Wednesday night.
About the Author
Written by Sean Eckhardt
Univ of Alabama alumni. Born and raised outside Chicago, IL. Currently live in Florida. Some of my favorite teams include the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Heat, and the Florida Panthers. My interests outside of sports include music, outdoor activities, and anything with a motor(cars, bikes, boats, etc...).