After a week in which they were mentioned in the same sentence with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and compared to some of the greatest duos in NBA history, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James weren’t even the most productive pair of teammates in the United Center Sunday. That honor goes to Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, who combined for 49 points to lead to the Chicago Bulls to a 1-0 lead over the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Wade and James totaled 33 points and eight turnovers while shooting just 12-32 from the field as the Heat suffered their third-largest loss of the season. As a team, the Heat attempted just 68 shots – matching their fewest since late March – as the Bulls dominated the boards and forced 16 Miami turnovers.
Bulls Offensive Rebound Margin
Against Heat This Season
Chicago outrebounded Miami 45-33, including a 19-6 edge in offensive rebounds. Joakim Noah pulled down more offensive boards (8) than the entire Heat team. It was Noah’s third game with at least eight offensive rebounds this postseason, the most in the NBA. Chicago’s 19 offensive rebounds and 31 second-chance points were the most allowed by the Heat in any game this season.
As expected, reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose had his way when matched up against the Heat’s point guard tandem of Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers. Rose scored 21 of his 28 points on the 18 plays he was guarded by a fellow point guard. On the 11 plays when he was defended by another Heat player, most often Dwyane Wade, he managed just seven points and made two of his seven shots from the field.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Chicago, where the Heat will likely need more than 33 points from their two biggest stars if they are going to even the series. Chris Bosh did well to fill the scoring void Sunday, recording a game-high 30 points, but Miami is at its best when Bosh is in a supporting role. After their Game 1 loss, the Heat are now 5-3 this season when Bosh leads the team in scoring. When James is their leading scorer, the Heat are 28-14 and Miami is even better when Wade leads the team in scoring at 30-9.
It’s often said an NBA playoff series doesn’t really start until the home team loses, but a loss on Wednesday would put the Heat in a hole few teams have been able to climb out of. Teams trailing 2-0 in a best-of-seven series have gone on to lose that series more than 94 percent of the time in NBA history.