2013 NBA Playoffs – Eastern Conference Semifinals Game #2
#5 Chicago Bulls at #1 Miami Heat
Bulls Lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 7:05 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
American Airlines Arena – Miami, Florida
Opening Line: Miami -12
Current Line: Miami -12 1/2
Opening Total: 187
Current Total: 187
Opening Money Line: Heat -1200 / Bulls +800
Current Money Line: Heat -1200 / Bulls +800
Before Monday’s game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls, many were asking if the Heat would even lose a game before the Finals. Miami had gone 39-2 in their last 41 games. The Heat had won 12 straight games including a dominating sweep over the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. They were playing a Bulls’ team who had key injuries to many of their best players and had just come off a bruising 7 game series against the Brooklyn Nets that ended two days before. The Heat were well rested with 8 days off since their last game. Miami was huge 12 point favorite in game one against Chicago Monday night.
Well, someone forgot to tell the Bulls they were supposed to get destroyed. The Bulls held the Heat to 15 first quarter points, their lowest output for any quarter this season. The Heat would tie it up at halftime at 37, but neither team shot very well. The Heat would take a seven point lead midway through the fourth, and looked like they were going to pull out the win. Miami was up 3 points with 2 minutes to go. However, Chicago would close the game on a 10-0 run to pull off the stunning 93-86 win. It was the second time Chicago snapped a long winning streak by the Heat. Earlier Chicago snapped Miami’s 27 game winning streak, the second longest in NBA history.
Miami shot just 39.7% from the field including 7/24 from 3 point range Monday night. The heat also only made 17 of 25 free throws. The Heat allowed 17 second chance points and were dominated on the boards 46-32.
LeBron James scored 24 points including 17 in the fourth quarter. James also added 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and a block. Dwyane Wade scored 14 points. He was the only other Heat player in double figure scoring. Chicago guard Nate Robinson scored 27 points, and added 9 assists. Forward Jimmy Butler added 21 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls. Joakim Noah scored 13 points, and added 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Forward Taj Gibson scored 12 points, and guard Marco Belinelli added 10. The Bulls were playing without Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich. Both Deng and Hinrich are listed as doubtful Wednesday night.
The Bulls are coached by Tom Thibodeau. Chicago is outscoring teams 93.2-92.9 this season. The Bulls are 29th in scoring and 3rd in points allowed. The Bulls are shooting 43.7% from the field and 35.3% from 3 point range. Chicago is 21st or worse in both categories. The Bulls are #6 in free throw shooting making 77.3% from the line. Chicago averages 43.2 rebounds per game and give up 41.1 per game. Chicago is 8th or better in both categories. Bulls’ opponents are shooting 44.3% from the field and 34.6% from 3 point range. They are in the top 10 in both categories. Chicago averages 22.8 assists, 7.2 steals, 5.5 blocks, and 14.7 turnovers. Chicago is 40-50 ATS and the total is 42-47-1
In the playoffs, small forward Luol Deng averages 13.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1 steal per game. Forward Carlos Boozer averages 17.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Noah averages 11.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 3.1 blocks. He has a foot injury. Pojnt guard Nate Robinson averages 17 points, 1.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1 steal a game. He is probable after suffering a cut in his mouth Monday Night Richard Hamilton, Marco Belinelli, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and Hinrich make up the rest of the rotation. Hinrich is questionable with the calf injury.
Miami is coached by Eric Spoelstra. The Heat are 48-38 ATS this season and the total is 42-42-2. Miami is outscoring teams 103-95 this season. The Heat are #5 in scoring and in points allowed. Miami is shooting 49.6% from the field and 39.6% from 3 point range. The Heat lead the league in field goal shooting and are #2 in 3 point shooting. Miami makes 75.4% of their free throws. The Heat are last in the league in rebounding at 38.6 per game, and fourth in rebounds allowed with 40.1. Miami opponents are shooting 44% from the field and 35% from 3 point range. Miami is 11th or better in both categories. The Heat average 23 assists, 8.7 steals, 5.4 blocks, and 13.3 turnovers per game.
In the playoffs, forward LeBron James is averaging 24.5 points, 7.8.1 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1 steal per game. He won his fourth MVP award Sunday. Guard Dwyane Wade averages 13.7 points, 7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 3 steals per game. He is probable with a bruised knee that kept him out of game 4 against Milwaukee . Forward/center Chris Bosh averages 12.8 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assists, and 1.8 blocks per game. Guard Ray Allen averages 16.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. Point guard Mario Chalmers averages 6.5 points, 3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Forward Shane Battier averages 5 points and 2.3 rebounds. Norris Cole, Rashard Lewis, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, and Chris Andersen make up the rest of the rotation.
Chicago is 5-1 ATS in conference semifinal games, 4-1 on one day rest, 3-7 in Wednesday games, 2-8 after a straight up win, and 1-6 after a cover. The under is 5-2 in this series recently and 4-1 in Miami in the series.
Miami is 6-0 ATS after a straight up loss, 5-0 after failing to cover, 10-3 against Eastern Conference teams, and overall, 6-2 against Central Division teams, and 18-7-1 in Conference semifinal games.
Perhaps 8 days off was a little too much for the Heat as they showed some signs of rust. They will play much better in game two. Miami won’t panic, as they were down early in the playoffs last year against the Pacers, Celtics and Thunder and came back to win all three series en route to the NBA title. Miami had a dreadful shooting night and must shoot better. Give credit to the Bulls as they played a tough game especially on defense. I could see a blowout tonight much like the Knicks did Tuesday night against the Pacers after losing game one at Madison Square Garden.