NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, May 8th (All times Eastern)
(5) Chicago Bulls (1-0) at (1) Miami Heat (0-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Miami Heat find themselves in a position most thought they wouldn't be in all postseason - they are down in a series.
Granted, it's only a 0-1 deficit, but that makes Wednesday's Game 2 against the Chicago Bulls all the more interesting.
"We understood, we're not going undefeated the rest of the year," said Dwyane Wade. "We have to come out and make adjustments and play better, especially toward the end, when it's winning time."
LeBron James echoed Wade's disappointment in how the Heat played late in Monday's 93-86 setback at American Airlines Arena. Miami held a comfortable lead, but the Bulls finished the game on a 10-0 run to steal Game 1 in Miami.
Chicago held a commanding 46-32 advantage on the glass and a 17-8 edge in second-chance points. The Bulls had a 40-32 points in the paint advantage.
Miami will need to improve on those numbers, or the unthinkable reality of the Heat falling to 0-2 becomes possible.
"Every game is a must-win in the playoffs," said James.
The Heat have been dominant in recent history, just remember their 27-game winning streak, which, was halted by the Bulls.
They haven't been immune from falling behind in a series. Miami trailed in three different series last year en route to the franchise's second NBA championship.
"It doesn't bother us," said James. "It's nothing we like being accustomed to. We've been in this position before."
James, who had a career playoff-low of two points in the first half Monday, finished with team-highs of 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Wade was the only other Miami player in double figures with 14.
For the Bulls, Monday's win was just another in a string of impressive performances this postseason.
There was the triple-overtime, Game 4 thriller against the Brooklyn Nets. There was stealing Game 7 in Brooklyn after the Nets pulled even. And now, you can add Monday's series-opener to the mix.
"We feel like we could have played better (in Game 1), said All-Star center Joakim Noah. "They probably feel the same way. It's going to be a great Game 2."
The Bulls have been ravaged by injury and illness, starting with former MVP Derrick Rose, who has still not returned from a torn ACL suffered in last season's first round of the playoffs.
Noah limped into the postseason with plantar fascitis and his coach finally admitted to how bad it was for the first-time All-Star.
"The night before the Brooklyn series, he said he didn't think he was going to be able to play," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau admitted on Tuesday. "He's found something that works, he's feeling a lot better, and obviously that's huge for our team."
Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng both have missed significant time this postseason. Hinrich injured his calf and Deng is suffering side effects from a spinal tap to test for meningitis. Thibodeau said Hinrich will once again test the leg before the game and Deng is still not with the team, although that could change Wednesday.
"He's feeling a little better, but he's going to be home probably for another day," Thibodeau said, referring to Deng. "We haven't decided yet. We're trying to weigh whether it's better for him to start doing activity back home."
That's meant heavier minutes for those that can go, namely Jimmy Butler. He's played all 48 minutes of the last three games for Chicago.
And Nate Robinson has been spectacular as well. He led the Bulls in Game 1 with 27 points. Butler had a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds and Noah also had a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards.
Game 3 is slated for Friday night in Chicago.
05/08 10:21:52 ET