Down 0-1? More Wake-Up Than Worry For Miami

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MIAMI – The Chicago Bulls were healthier and, back then, had the NBA’s newly named Most Valuable Player on their side. The Miami Heat were still a relative work in progress, talented and scary but also sorting and sifting near the end of Big 3, volume 1.

The Bulls whupped that crew by 21 points in the opener of the 2011 Eastern Conference championship series, held the home-court edge and looked for a couple days as if they were headed for the Finals.

Ahem. The Heat won the next four games, the first two by double digits each, the next in overtime, the last with a 19-4 rush over the final 3:36 to win by three.

The Miami team of postseason 2013 is more dangerous and highly evolved, with the league’s best player at the peak of his powers. Chicago is missing three guys (Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich) from its preferred eight- or nine-man rotation. So there really shouldn’t be a problem, should there?

Yes, the Heat dropped the opener of the teams’ East semifinals series Monday. But LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest have trailed in five of the 10 playoff series they have played since coming together in the summer of 2010. But they have roared back four times – three times last spring against Indiana, Boston and Oklahoma City. Only against Dallas in 2011 did they slip behind (3-2) and stay behind.

That should alleviate any hand-wringing about the here and now, right?

“We’ve been there,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Our experiences have taught us a lot of things, but that does nothing for us right now. We have to fight for our playoff lives.”

The challenge for the Heat on Tuesday, practicing in advance of Game 2, was to find the right line between unruffled and overreacting. Some considered the Bulls’ 93-86 Game 1 victory a wake-up call, a shock to their system, a shot across the Miami guys’ bows. Others felt the Heat played well, that too much was made of James’ facilitating first half (just two points scored) and that extreme adjustments would be the biggest mistake the defending champions could make at this point.

“When you lose a game, your ears seem to work better,” said forward Shane Battier of the team’s mood in practice. “You seem more open for adjustments and you see to tune up the effort a little more in the next game.”

Said James: “We executed, we missed shots, we had good looks. … It ain’t about X’s and O’s in this series. It’s about the will and determination to win the series. For both teams.”

That didn’t stop Spoelstra from immersing the Heat in a lengthy video session. But what it confirmed again and again was that they got a lot of good, even open shots that they simply did not knock down. By James count, six of Battier’s seven 3-pointers were wide open, as were three of Mike Miller‘s four. Combined they made only three of those 11.

That had more to do with the outcome in James’ view than his alleged lack of aggression. He scored 22 of his 24 points after halftime.

“My shooters have gotten us to this point. They’ve made shots over the season,” James said. “I’ve got trust in them. We still had a chance to win the game, no matter what I was doing in the first half or not.

Spoelstra, James and the others did see some breakdowns offensively in the game’s final minutes and an unacceptable brand of defense (35 points allowed) in the fourth quarter. When James and Wade attacked the rim, they looked more interested in avoiding Bulls center Joakim Noah as a shot-blocker than they did in forcing the issue physically. As a result, James got the foul line less often than his defender, Jimmy Butler and Wade didn’t shoot a free throw at all.

Still, Wade said, “There were a lot of encouraging things throughout the game. That was the kind of game where you’re not playing as good as you want to be, but good teams find a way to grind it out and get the win.”

Chicago played harder and got rewarded. The Bulls, if they’re smart, will remain on the run because they have manpower issues and a roster stretched thin by injuries. Hinrich (calf bruise) still was limping after their team meeting Tuesday at their downtown Miami hotel and said he’d had only marginal improvement from rest and treatment.

Deng (spinal tap complications) still was in Chicago, posting on social media a photo of himself in his hospital bed that was a mystery to some in the Bulls’ camp (was that taken during Game 7 vs. Brooklyn? Or Game 1 Monday?) The best option with the All-Star forward would seem to be patience until Game 3 at United Center or later. As for Rose, that remains a “no,” with the faintest hint of “you’re-kidding-right?”

So the Bulls will try to remain a moving target, with the Heat likely to challenge Noah, attack Butler and pressure Nate Robinson more. Obviously, they don’t want to be satisfied with getting one of two at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“We’ve played this team a lot so we know their tendencies pretty well. But every game of thes playoff series is chess,”Noah said. “We’re going to go back to the film room, see the things that we could have done better. … it almost becomes like you know their sets before they even run them.

“We’ve been in this situation before where we won Game 1 .We were all very, very excited about it. And they ran us over.”

57 Comments

  1. Pat-on-the-back says:

    Bulls fans, you were saying..?

  2. Ilovelebronjames says:

    All i have to say is lebron James is the best u just wait…… He’s blowing away stats and he keeps getting better.. Remember heat came back from 27 down ha doesn’t happen very often. Tell you what Bosh screws it up most the time he’s horrible. Wade wat was with the 3 attempt? He can’t make 3s and neither can bosh and bosh is so sloppy and the heat can still win 27 in a row so watch out bulls!!! We haven’t seen the best of lebron yet :)

  3. Aram says:

    There’s a song that goes: Bet your house, your wife and your dog but I’m gonna win it all! go heat!

  4. digitioli says:

    Hopefully, the players will decide the games and not the referees. IF that’s the case, the Bulls have a fighting chance.

  5. vern says:

    No one can really think Chicago is the better team. Granted they’re good. I like them for their hustle and no excuse play. I don’t think they’ll beat the Heat but It wouldn’t be any big surprise if they did. Lots of people think Miami can’t be beat but I see upset somewhere. They’re good, very good but not as good as people think. Injuries can cause a team to go from championship to lottery pick. They haven’t really had too many injuries as bad as all the other teams.Plus, every team that’s left that may play them already thinks they can beat them. Confidence and really believing you’re better is halfway there.Only thing left is to do it.

  6. Turk (not Hedo, but of the same nationality) says:

    Until Game 1, I fully expected the Heat to repeat (rather begrudgingly though). But considering how they defended Miami incredibly on a road game with Deng and Hinrich out gives me some doubt. That streak-buster back in the regular season is also impressive, so I don’t know right now. I may be daydreaming as a Bulls fan, but they may be able to take the series. Either way, I’m excited as hell.

  7. thunda0204gmail.com says:

    Hey this is the nba where amazing happen so just cuz yu all heat riders an want them to win doesn’t mean they will hey who knows bulls just might do it you people never no so just cause on paper it looks good doesn’t mean a thing

  8. leston says:

    miami all the way.,. i mean come on.,.it doesnt matter how mad that bull is.,.beef always gets cooked wit heat
    give respect where respect is due .,.bulls won game one wit a battered team to say the least.,.but i can see them takin 4 games against the heat

  9. south beach says:

    Bulls best basketball barely beat Miami’s worst, Heat jus needed alittle wake up call this bulls team healthy with rose still cant compete. Heat in 5

  10. holyspectator says:

    a realist would know that bulls are not gonna beat miami in a 7 game series man, lol…you chitown folks needa relax…your hatred for the champs and your idea of this current bulls team with all the injuries that they have will win against the heat? hey look i give it to em, they came in there and made the heat work, its kinda surprising though as a great bulls played..miami actually played a very bad game and lost by what few buckets? i wouldnt be surprised if heat win tonight and the remaining games by double digits..

  11. fernando says:

    The Bulls can get it done against Miami, good execution and heart, terrific D and we’ll be fine.

  12. kon says:

    Heat gave bulls a head start +1

    LMAO!

    Don’t call it a comeback!

  13. sam says:

    iswear people are so dumb and delusional thinking thier team can compete with the Heat, get outta here with that bulls faught hard nd they have the will to win, yea they did but obviously you saw miami didnt play nowhere near their best against the bulls. Miami in 5

    • Eric says:

      No one is dumb. It’s not like the Bulls haven’t beat them in big games this year. These guys are not invincible. You don’t think the Bulls had something to do with how the Heat played. If you don’t you haven’t watched many games between the two this year or over the years.

      If the series is officated like game one the Bulls have a chance. Now watch tonight the Heat have a 2 to 1 ratio in FT’s. This will decide the series. Wade will cry to the ref’s after every call. What a baby. They will get all the calls tonight watch. It never fails. That’s why the Heat will win.

      • sam says:

        Ive kept up with every game this season and every other in the past, and no because most of their missed shots were uncontested, nd last games officiating was terrible on both sides, don’t get at the heat saying they’ll get all the calls now on because it happens for every team, and when does wade ever cry? hes the main one who always says this team never makes excuses, ihardly see him go after a ref when a call isn’t made, and idont recall people complaining about heat getting no calls. the heat will win just because well their the heat and they know how to learn from their mistakes and adjusting, Heat in 5

  14. Harry Potter says:

    2012 ECSemis vs Pacers 2 – 1, won games 4 5 6
    2012 ECF vs Celtics 3 – 2, won games 6 7
    2012 Finals vs Thunder 1 – 0, won games 2 3 4

    it’s just ECSemis 1 – 0, Heat’s gonna bounce back.

    Heat 4 – 1

  15. Baller13 says:

    Heat win in 5~

  16. Mr. Daffodil says:

    I am positive that the Heat will tie the series in Game 2. Although I’m both a Heat and Bulls fan and am neutral in this series, but knowing the Heat especially their Big 3, they wouldn’t want to bring their fans down in their own territory. And I would love to see Derrick Rose finally playing for the team.

    • allan says:

      Miami has no “big three” they have a big two..bosh is a good player not a super star…if he’s a star then so is boozer

  17. Kevo says:

    Yes, we Bulls fans can and should keep believing! For Chicago, we have nothing to lose… It’s the Playoffs, go hard or go home!

    Hats off to Chicago for playing with heart and determination. I am sure Miami will come back in full force for the upcoming games. To be realistic, I predict the Heat in 6 (even as a Bulls fan), but as a dreamer, Bulls in 5 (post all you want about “keep dreaming” or “you don’t know basketball” or “blah blah blah”; any true fan of their team will have high expectations and hopes for their team).

    But, the thing to remember is that the Bulls have nothing to lose (I certainly thought the Nets would win in Game 6 and look where they are now). The Heat, on the other hand, are on top and there is only one way to go from there…

  18. fgafgafgdagdfgadsd says:

    If Rose will play in the playoffs he might destroy the chemistry of the team. same as like nelson did in Orlando few years ago.

  19. Flavio says:

    Series start today for Miami

  20. bullheat says:

    do u think the bulls can take ds series? Just watch, The Heat wil take ds series just like what happened last 2011… bullsheat..

  21. SM says:

    Basketball is a game of 5 players. If Wade and Bosh continue to play the same way they did during the last 10 or 20 games, Miami Heat doe snot have the chance to win the championship.
    I am a Miami Heat fan and believe LBJ is best NBA player in the history of NBA but he cant do it all alone.
    Wade and Bosh must start playing their real game to be able to be the champion.
    Chicago is the easy step. If they lose to Chicago like this, what do they want to do in the next rounds?
    Another choice from the coach Spo is to let Wade sit on the bench and let Bosh and LBJ run the show. That should work too.
    In summary Wade has to step up. If he plays like the old Wade, Miami is the champs.
    For Chicago series, just let Wade take care of Robinson in defense, That should stop the Chicago.

  22. Daan says:

    You’ll see Miami bounce back this night, lose one more game and then take it all.
    Heat will play Knicks in conference finals. Spurs will play Grizzlies in WCF.
    Finals will be Heat vs Spurs

  23. Go Bulls-Go Get It-Keep Seeing Red! Shot out from Boston where Nate is known as “Nate The Great”-Bigups!

  24. NBAIQ says:

    D-Rose is not coming back this year.
    Deng will limp back to this series along with Hinrich but the series belongs to the Heat. The Bulls will fight their hardest, but with no D-Rose, the Heat will win this series in 6.

  25. Bstarr says:

    Bulls in 6 or 7 c’mon Chicago make it happen!!! Let’s have an upset in the East!

    Watch my words when Bulls go up 2-0 or 3-2 Miami will play their goofy strategy: all balls on Lebron. You don’t believe this? Well watch game 6 of the CF 2012 in TD Garden. Nuff said…

    I don’t know if that strategy will work against the Bulls so that’s why I cannot say that Miami will win this series for sure.
    I’m going with the underdog……..uhm underBULLS!

  26. Allen says:

    hahaha, to those who believe the bulls can win in 5 or 6 games, come on, are you writing while you are dreaming??? in some other live time maybe the bulls will win the series…..
    Don’t fool your selves with that one win…. this heat team is like the lakers with Shaq and Kobe in the past…. they lost the first game at home against sixers with iverson on the team… then what happened next??? sixers dropped 4 straight games and the lakers never looked back…, last season, same thing when it happened with pacers without bosh in the line up, the came back strong, same thing against the celtics, they came back stronger…..

    In another life time maybe the bulls will win the series, or maybe in your wet dreams somehow…. hahahhaha….
    Miami in 5, 6 or 7… it does not matter, the bulls will lose the series DEFINITELY.
    I don’t need to explain why, cause so many experts and fans have given their thoughts and calculations into it….

    So just answer your self, or you can stay in your wetest dream….

    Peace

  27. Patrickmarc says:

    Miami is coming out from a long sleep.
    They where waiting and waiting
    and they get asleep

  28. Built on the Rock says:

    This Bulls Basketball Team reminds me of that parable where a man builds a house on a rock; dug the foundation and when storm and floods came, the house still stands.

    The floods came in terms of injury to, first and foremost, Rose, an MVP. Then to the others. But because of its solid foundation, the Chicago Bulls House is still standing; got into the playoffs, won G7 vs the Nets, and won G1 vs the hot Heat, who was forecasted to be the first team in play-off history to do a 16-0.

    Salute to the Bulls. You have promoted the value of preparation, determination, and communication!

  29. venjo says:

    Still, I believe…Miami can win the series ’till game-5 only.

  30. Drose doesn't last long says:

    D.rose should come back! As to everybody’s notion that it would be better to see him at 100% healthy next season, that willl only happen for two months of that season. The reason being his style of play, which is an injury-prawn moves. Dating back his MVP season, J.Kidd and Grant Hill advised him to take it easy, but he was quick to brush it aside stating: “Nah! I’m still young!” Look what happened the next season.
    Point is, if he can win this one right now. Win it, for it won’t be too long to see him injured next season due to his style of play. Unless, of course, he adopts wade-style of playing. BTW, im a miami fan and It would be fun to watch the best of the bulls vs the best of miami. No excuses!

    • Ray says:

      Miami are the ones 1-0 down. Bulls don’t need to make any excuses. Even with the Bulls at full strength, Miami are the BEST team in the NBA and should repeat – NO EXCUSES!

    • Gab says:

      “Prawn” moves?

  31. Davey says:

    All in all, this is just another learning experience for Miami. They felled behind 3-2 in Boston last year, and people began ringing the death bell, until they regained composure and crushed Boston at home, and then proceeded to go to the finals and manhandle the Thunder. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this Heat squad, it’s that they are one of the best teams at learning from their mistakes and adapting. Heat still probably win in 5 or 6 (possibly 7 though I doubt it), and even though this is a good Bulls squad, I don’t see them being able to hold off the star power of the Heat for the rest of the series.

  32. W/E says:

    If the Heat dont win this series its gunna be absurd, i predict that they will win 4 straight and go 4-1, but IF they somehow manage to lose to this crippled BUlls team full of role players, LBJ,Wade and Bosh gotta get out of the league and go play for the WNBA, if a bunch of role players have more heart and desire to win then WNBA is the only league suitable for those 3 guys. And Spoelstra should start a new career at selling Hot dogs in baseball games.

  33. Look out for the bleh bleh bleh says:

    Heat chokes in round 2 this year. This was a crucial loss and it has determined how the series will go. If their bench can do this to the Heat, the Heat has no chance when Deng and Hinrich comes back. Bulls take the series in five, at most six games.

    Here’s how it’s going to go down 5-game scenario: Bulls lead 2-0. Miami wins only one game back in Chicago. Then Bulls finish them off in Miami game 5.
    6-game scenario: Bulls lead 2-0. Miami wins only one game back in Chicago. Then Bulls get defeated in Miami game 5. Then Bulls win game 6 back in Chicago.

    Either way, the Bulls take a 2-0 lead. Their defense is stifling enough to keep Miami under 90 points. And Butler seems to be doing a good job shutting down James.

    • Tho says:

      have you ever watched the heat play I say at most heat in six its just one game have you seen what has happened the last three times the heat went down in a series or the series with the bull where everyone was healthy and the bulls went up 1-0 and maimi won four straight who ever says the heat are done because of one game your just very uneducated to the game

      • yoyobullshere says:

        True….but the Bulls pose a different threat defensively…got a 2G that can score and defend….and still awaiting rose deng and hinrich!! It will be a War!!!

      • Ilovelebronjames says:

        U GUYS BETTER RECOGNIZE LBJ IS UNSTOPPABLE THE BLACK NIGHT WITH SHINE HIS ARMORE HEAT WIN OUT FROM HERE THEY WILL NOT LOOZE

    • LordP says:

      Look out..keep your venum for another team..tonite we gonna show resilience and Heart..We gonna eat alive these bulls!!let’s go Heat

    • B-Ball4Life says:

      Hahahahaha…keep on dreaming!!! I think you meant Heat win in five, right? Watch the game and see the shots of Miami drop right into the soul of the Bulls. This is the scenario: Heat will win every game from now on.
      Deal with the reality!

    • Pakyaw says:

      @ bleh bleh, u really think that the bulls will beat the heat in 7game series?..don’t be a fool…u can win the battle(bulls) but we will win the war(heat)…

    • Silence I'll kill u says:

      Dream on!

  34. Joe says:

    Well my way of saying it is that the bulls put the dirt on the floor and now the heat will bring out the broom.

  35. Gabo Ocampo 83 says:

    Bulls gonna take it in 6 games. I would love to see DRose play this series.