By Brandon Pemberton
The Miami Heat came out flat in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Bulls and the play along with the final score showed. Lebron James(15 points, 5-15 from the field) and Dwayne Wade(18 points 7-17 from the field) were flat out brutal, while Chris Bosh carried the team with 30 points and 9 rebounds. When I watched James after the game 7 win against the Celtics on the ground resembling a player who had just won a NBA title, I thought to myself “he is acting like the season is over and they won it all”. And he and his team’s play was a disgrace on Sunday night.
Yeah we all noticed that James and Wade played bad, but their were plenty of blame to go around. The Bulls were the more physical team on both ends of the court and the Heat allowed the Chicago to grab 19 offensive rebounds, which lead to 31 second chance points. The Bulls also forced the Heat into 16 turnovers and held them to only 10 fastbreak points.
The Bulls bench clearly out played Miami’s out scoring them 28-15, providing solid defense and mistake free basketball. Taj Gibson scored 9 points off the bench including two highlight reel dunks, one of them on Wade. Ronnie Brewer gave the Bulls some good minutes drawing the assignments of James and Wade.
Look I know it’s a seven game series and all, but the last thing you want to do is go down 2-0 and leave yourself in the spot where you have to win four out of the next five games. I expect Lebron and D-Wade both to come out more aggressive and assertive, looking to go to the rack more and get the Bulls into foul trouble. There were too many occasions where they settled for jump shots instead of putting pressure on the defense by driving the ball. It would help if the Heat could get some scoring from the bench, but at this point I don’t know if it’s really possible. Mike Bibby, Mario Chalmers, and James Jones would help out greatly if they can hit the open shots available to them.
I’m looking at the Vegas line on this game and it has the Bulls(-2) as the home favorite. That’s a Miami line if you ask me so I will take the Heat plus the 2 to win the game. If they don’t….they are screwed and the Lebron hate will be all over the place.