It was back to the drawing boards for the Miami Heat on Tuesday as they looked to regroup from their first loss in over a month. The Chicago Bulls are the only team to beat the Heat with LeBron James on the floor since February 1, and they've done it twice. Unfortunately for the Heat, they'll be playing the Bulls for the foreseeable future.
Chicago used a 35 point fourth quarter led by Nate Robinson to stun the Heat in Game 1 in Miami. Four of the Bulls starters played 39 minutes or more as they were without Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich. Both of those players are doubtful to play in Game 2. And no, Derrick Rose will not play either.
For the Heat, everyone is available, but everyone needs to play better. After practice on Tuesday coach Spoelstra said, "We have to play much better and much harder than we did last night, and we know that."
The Heat have several areas to fix. Most importantly will be rebounding as they were out rebounded by 14. Secondly, which will help the first area, will be shooting. Shane Battier, Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers all need to contribute better than they did in Game 1. LeBron needs to be more assertive in the first half, and Chris Bosh needs to be noticed.
One thing is for sure, the Heat need to win this game. Going down 0-2 heading to Chicago will not be a pretty sight for the Heat in the media or in their minds. The New York Knicks used a 30-2 second half run to even their series with the Indiana Pacers after dropping Game 1 on their home court. Miami must do what it takes to even the series.
What to watch for
I expect to see the Heat regain their rhythm and slow down the Bulls a little bit more in this game. You should expect the Heat to win, but there are no guarantees in the NBA Playoffs. They should expect to fight and scrap for everything.
Look for Dwyane Wade to find a better rhythm and make more of an impact on the game. Game 1 was officiated pretty loosely, as in they let a lot of contact go, and I would think it tightens up a bit which should help Wade offensively.
Carlos Boozer wasn't much of an offensive factor in Game 1, but he has had good games against the Heat in the past, he will be more aggressive looking to score which will make the Bulls more efficient. And lastly, will Jimmy Butler play all 48 minutes once again, and will he wear down?
Make sure you tune in, and come back to Hot Hot Hoops as we break it all down for you!
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 7:00 PM EDT