No offense tarnishes a great defensive game for the Miami Heat and Lebron James.
On a night that started off with LeBron James hoisting the MVP trophy in front a roaring AA Arena, the Miami Heat entered with what seemed like an obvious advantage and an easy Game One victory over the spinal tapped Chicago Bulls. The overly confident emotions that were bellowing out of our big heads quickly scampered back inside after the Heat did not complete a shot for the first 6:27 into the first quarter going 0-3 from the field until Chris Bosh put in 2 from the free throw line. As Miami Heat fans though, we are accustomed to aggravatingly slow starts - especially coming after a week layoff.
"There's no excuses," said Spoelstra, "We're not making any excuses for time off or anything else."
It's hard to make any excuses when you look at what the Bulls have had to overcome. Especially after a grueling 7-game series with the underachieving and inconsistent Brooklyn Nets. Having said that, it was evident that they were left out to rust for too long in our tin man outfits during the South Florida summer squalls with Dorothy nowhere in sight and they fell 93-86 to the shorthanded Chicago Bulls. Even with rust it's hard to believe that this Miami team could not win, it's rather unexplainable.
The Bulls continue to do what they have been doing all season long. Finding a way to win. Going 2-2 with the Miami Heat so far this season.
The Chicago Bulls did what their team is built to do and that is fight for second chance points and keep it close until the end. The Bulls had 17 second-chance points on only nine offensive rebounds. "It's all about being tough," said Jimmy Butler, who was given high praise for his defense on LeBron. "We're always going to be the underdogs and we take pride in that. Everybody can overlook us, but we feel like we're good enough to hang with a lot of these teams."
None of the Bulls points came easy, as the Miami Heat showed their championship caliber defense from the very beginning. This series will not see players going off for 30 plus points unless their name is the aforementioned LeBron James. This series is all about defense, but you still have to score. As well as the Heat's defense played they were offensively inept, specifically our shooting. We couldn't have asked for better passes and ball movement. All of their shots were uncontested because of that, but the ball eluded its home in the ringer. They shot less than 30% from the perimeter going 7-24 and just less than 40% from the field. Don't be fooled though. These numbers were not a product of good Chicago defense, these were self imposed flesh wounds. Excluding our reigning MVP who shot just under 50% putting in 24 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists, which we expected, nobody else showed up. This is a team that fell victim to being out of rhythm. The energy was there but the fluidity of the shots was not. This was what you would call a glitch game, a fluke. You will never see LeBron go 1-3 in the first half of a playoff game ever again. You will never see the Big 3 combine for only 12 points in the first half ever again. Hopefully we will never see Dwyane Wade shoot another bizarre 3 pointer like he did with a 1:07 seconds left...ever and I mean ever again.
As far as the Chicago Bulls go, they are left with 1-0 lead in the series and false hope. Just like the false hope Derrick Rose has given them throughout the regular and post season. But this a Bulls team that you can not let hang around or give the slightest bit of breathing room. "We're not really a flashy team," Gibson said. "We like to go out and do our job." And thats just what they did. When Nate Robinson isn't eating the floor, he is eating the Heat up inside and out. We must follow in Gerald Wallace's footsteps and stomp him out of this series, but it doesn't look like anyone has an answer for him so far this season and that may not change.
As Belinelli said, though "It's just one game". And in order for the Bulls to keep up with the Heat they can't get overly confident with this win. They did not play well at all until the final stretch. Unfortunately for the Bulls, the Heat respond to adversity better than any other team in the NBA. Them going 4-0 the rest of the way would not be surprising.
But can we continue to be surprised by this Chicago Bulls team? They appear to have done enough this season to garnish our undivided attention by snapping our 27 game win streak and taking the first game in Miami for a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals.