Rapid Reaction: Bulls 93, Heat 86
May, 6, 2013
By Nick Friedell
MIAMI -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls earned a 93-86 win over the Miami Heat on Monday night at American Airlines Arena in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
How it happened: Nate Robinson had 27 points, nine assists and hit several huge shots down the stretch as the Bulls picked up a win that surprised many. Jimmy Butler played one of the best games of his young career, scoring 21 points and pulling down 13 rebounds while playing all 48 minutes and guarding LeBron James. Joakim Noah had another big game, scoring 13 points, pulling down 11 rebounds and dishing out four assists. James had 24 points, 15 in the fourth quarter, eight rebounds and seven assists, but the Heat didn't have the answer for the Bulls down the stretch.
What it means: The Bulls stole home-court advantage while giving their injured players a few extra days to recover. Few people outside of the Bulls' locker room expected them to have a chance in this series, especially in this game without Luol Deng (illness) and Kirk Hinrich (calf). But just like they did in their first-round series against Brooklyn, the Bulls won with heart, defense and excellent coaching. Tom Thibodeau and his team deserve all the credit for finding a way to win despite having played in Game 7 of their first-round series with the Brooklyn Nets less that 48 hours before. This is the type of win that will give Thibodeau even more confidence that they can steal another before heading home.
Hits: Taj Gibson had a nice game off the bench after a poor series against the Nets. On Monday, he had 12 points and four rebounds in 23 minutes.
Misses: Carlos Boozer was 3-for-11 from the field for just six points and had three turnovers.
Stat of the night: The Bulls turned the ball over 16 times. The Heat scored 22 points off those turnovers.
What's next: Game 2 is Wednesday night in Miami.