Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
What do you make of Miami’s Game 1 trip? What’s ahead in this series?
Steve Aschburner: Rust. A dearth of games with urgency not just in recent days but recent weeks. And an adrenaline-charged Chicago squad. Those things conspired against the defending champs in Game 1. I expect that Miami will snap back to form — most talented, most dangerous team in the NBA — and advance in no more than six games. I just hope it’s earned on the floor, not with a parade to the foul line. Also, the Heat’s stars need to be careful, because whining about no-calls and even winning too gleefully might cast them as bullies again against the plucky-underdog Bulls, just when we all thought the “hate Miami” theme had run its course.
Fran Blinebury: The Bulls, the layoff, the fact that despite the absurd standard to which the Heat are held, really nobody wins them all. Come in off the ledge. Miami in six, maybe even five.
Jeff Caplan: I attribute it to a remarkable effort by the Bulls’ players and coaching staff. Miami had a long layoff and didn’t bring the proper focus and determination to get the job done against one heck of a stubborn opponent that is going to bring physical play and hard effort as long as it’s on the floor. I certainly expect the Heat to bounce back, understanding that Chicago — and I’d give the Bulls more of a chance if it seemed at all that Luol Deng will be healthy but it does not — is going to mentally and physically exhaust them for the full 48. In a seven-game series, the more talented team is going to come through and I fully expect the Heat to advance in six games.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Well, stuff happens. The Bulls played like a team on a mission — as Tom Thibodeau clubs do — and the Heat played like a team that has had opponents aiming for them every night since November. It was wrong to think they would go undefeated in the playoffs. It is not wrong to think they will regain control of the series and win.
John Schuhmann: It was pretty obvious that the Heat were out of rhythm after an eight-day layoff. That put them in a grinder of a game with the Bulls, a situation that no one wants to be in. They still had a chance to win, but Dwyane Wade forgot that he’s one of the worst 3-point shooters in NBA history. I expect them to win the series in five or six games and it wouldn’t surprise me if they win the next two by 15-plus.
Sekou Smith: The cause for the Heat’s Game 1 performance was a nasty mix of the Chicago Bulls, the long layoff after the first round sweep of Milwaukee and a classic case of fat cat syndrome. Heat star Chris Bosh was the only guy willing to say it out loud. But the Heat couldn’t get the car out of cruise control against the Bulls. All the trainingcamp style practices in the world cannot prepare you for a physical and feisty opponent like the Bulls coming at you from opening tip to final buzzer. The Heat thought they had things under control late but miscalculated. I expect them to be fully prepared for what comes next in Game 2 and the remainder of this series, which I predicted to go six games with the Heat advancing.
Lang Whitaker: The thing about the Heat losing Game One wasn’t that they weren’t prepared — they got the shots they were looking for, including a bunch of those corner threes that Chicago defends so preciously. They just didn’t make a lot of those shots. Also, defensively the Heat can (and will) make some adjustments, such as using LeBron in a way that he’s not just standing around on the help-side and instead will be actively defending the ball.