Round 3, Game 1 (Chicago v Miami)

I watched this game earlier tonight between intense games of “Bang” (a card game), so I wasn’t watching as intently as I maybe could have.  However, there is still much I can take away from the game.

Remember (if you read my preview blog for the series) when I used the word “desire” about 100 times?  Well, in case anyone was paying the slightest attention, desire, want, passion, whatever – that’s what the Bulls brought to the game and that was what was really missing from the Heat throughout the night.  Every loose ball, every rebound, every broken play ended with a Chicago dunk or 3.

Yeah, I’m going to brag a little about this one, because I called it.  Miami is still (these things don’t change day-to-day) the better team talent-wise; but Chicago proved that you can win by wanting it more.  And that’s really what defense and rebounding are.  There’s a little aspect of talent (I have no hope of ever guarding Dwight Howard), but what Luol Deng, Ronnie Brewer, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson did tonight was 75% hustle.

Which of course brings us to Miami’s predicament.  As predicted, Miami was flat (except Bosh, which I was not expecting) and putrid offensively as well as in every hustle category.  In the first half, the Heat stayed in the game simply from shooting a terrific percentage.  However, they were already losing the game on the boards.  Once their shots stopped dropping (and Chicago figured out how to stop turning the ball over), it was game over for Miami.

The turning point of the game could be any one of the millions of offensive rebounds garnered by Chicago’s bigs, but two moments in particular stood out.  The first was a broken play where Chicago ended up with the ball after a scrum.  Somehow Rose got the ball at the near wing and buried a three as two Miami “defenders” took their precious time getting up off the floor.  The other play, which was more of a capstone than a turning point was Gibson’s thunderous dunk (it’s scary when you have to ask which one – the second one, fyi).  That play totally personified the game.

The player of the game is really hard to give, but I’m going with Deng.  Rose did what Rose usually does (score, dish a little and run the offense), but I was still unimpressed with his shot selection at times.  A guy like him should be shooting 50%; also 7 threes (yes, he made 3) was a lot for a poor shooter.  It’s a bad habits thing.  But back to the main man Deng.  He played stifling defense on Lebron all night and threw in 21 points, 7 boards and 4 theifs to boot.  Most importantly, though, was that he played with an energy that the Heat couldn’t match.  That’s the only thing that’s going to win the Bulls this series.

Going forward, I feel like I’m just going to be a broken record.  Everything went well in the second half for the Bulls – they hit a million threes, killed Miami on the glass, didn’t turn the ball over… and still never really had a safe lead until the last few minutes (at least it never felt safe).  Miami has too much firepower for Chicago to ever fall asleep and they have to remember that.  If the Bulls keep the edge they had in this game, they’ll win the series.  Otherwise, the Heat will out-talent them to the finals.  The final score of this first game was very deceiving: Miami was not blown out by any means and truly the Heat still had a chance, even with just a few minutes left in the game.

I still think I like the Heat, because all they need is a split in Chicago, but game one showed that the Bulls know the secret to beating a very beatable Miami team.

Yours Truly,


    • Becca
    • May 16th, 2011

    Молодец ты for managing to watch while simultaneously teaching and playing (and winning) a card game.

    • Snoke
    • May 17th, 2011

    The Heat worked hard in the first half, especially Wade, Bosh and Anthony. The biggest problem I saw was that the point guards, LeBron, and Jones never showed up (apart from LeBron’s occasional pull up shot). There was absolutely zero outside pressure from Miami, and no one will beat the Bulls inside for four quarters. By the second half, the guys working hard inside were tired and it was game over.

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