Chicago Bulls Again Without Starters for Game Two Against Heat
The short-handed Chicago Bulls turned its Eastern Conference semifinals matchup against the Miami Heat on its head Monday night with a stunning victory in Game One in Miami. They will look to continue their inspired playoff run Wednesday as a 12-point road underdog against the Heat.
The Bulls, who have been without the services of injured former NBA MVP Derrick Rose for the entire season, beat the Heat while also being without key starters Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng because of injury in Game One. Neither is expected to play Wednesday. Meanwhile, the defending champion NBA Heat will continue to have their full complement of weapons in Game Two.
Miami displayed obvious signs of rust in Game One, compliments of an eight-day break that followed their sweep of the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. Lebron James, who this week was named the NBA MVP for the fourth time, was among those that struggled early. He scored just two of his team-high 24 points in the first half, which allowed the Bulls to stay in the game and offer hope for the upset in Game One.
The Bulls were paced by their typical rugged defensive effort along with an offensive explosion from Nate Robinson. The pint-sized guard, who sees limited minutes with a healthy Hinrich and Rose, responded to the opportunity by posting 27 points and nine assists. Additionally, the Bulls dominated the boards by outrebounding the Heat, 46 to 32.
As the Bulls inspirational leader, Joakim Noah—who finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds in the opener—noted in his post-game comments this matchup has historically come down to who is the better rebounding team. The Bulls were able to win that battle Monday and will need to continue the trend if they are to win the series.
The results of Game One was certainly a surprise, but the thought among many NBA betting experts
is the Bulls had an ideal setup in Game One. As noted above, Miami hadn't played in eight days and the best player on the planet failed to make an impact in the opening 24 minutes. Even with all that, it took a final late surge by the Bulls to earn the win. Look for the Heat to bounce back in a big way in Game Two.