The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Pro Sports

May 6, 2013

Bulls steal Game 1, top Heat 93-86

MIAMI — Nate Robinson was spitting blood in the first half, then delivered the deepest cuts of the night in the final moments. And the Chicago Bulls reminded the Miami Heat that no one in the NBA plays them any tougher.

Yes, the streakbusters struck again.

Robinson scored 27 points, Jimmy Butler added 21 points and a career-high-tying 14 rebounds and the Bulls beat Miami 93-86 on Monday night in Game 1 of the teams’ Eastern Conference semifinal series. The team that snapped Miami’s 27-game winning streak in the regular season — the second-longest in NBA history — found a way to topple the champs again, this time ending a run of 12 straight Heat victories overall.

“I’ve played on some tough teams,” Robinson said. “But this one, there’s something a little different, something special about this group.”

A seven-point deficit midway through the fourth wasn’t enough to doom the Bulls, who finished the game on a 10-0 run in the final 1:59. And to think, the Bulls weren’t anywhere near full strength. Kirk Hinrich was out again with a calf injury. Luol Deng isn’t even expected to rejoin the team until Tuesday, after dealing with an illness apparently so severe that a spinal tap — and other tests since — were needed to rule out things like meningitis.

“So proud of my team man, this bed might be good luck after all,” Deng wrote on Twitter after the game, with a photo of him in a hospital bed.

Oh, and Derrick Rose remains sidelined, as he’s been since April 2012.

No problem. The Heat are 41-3 in their last 44 games — with two of those losses to the Bulls, who are now 3-2 against Miami this season.

“I think when you’re facing adversity, you have to be mentally tough,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “But this is just one game. We have to play a lot better in our next one.”

LeBron James got his MVP trophy from Commissioner David Stern before the game, then struggled to a two-point first half before finishing with 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Miami. Dwyane Wade added 14 for the Heat, who had no one else in double figures, finished shooting 40 percent from the floor and were outrebounded 46-32.

“I’m not stunned,” James said. “This is what the playoffs is all about. We’re going against a really good team.”

Miami was outscored 35-24 in the fourth, something that drew the ire of Heat coach Erik Spoelstra afterward.

“There’s no excuses,” said Spoelstra, whose team had not played in more than a week. “We’re not making any excuses for time off or anything else.”

If anyone could have made excuses, it was Robinson. He needed 10 stitches, five in his lip and five more inside his mouth, to close a nasty cut that came when he dove for a loose ball with James and struck his head on the court late in the first half.

And then not only did he play the whole second half, he scored 24 points in those 24 minutes, including the last seven points that finished the job for Chicago.

“He was born a scorer,” Miami guard Mario Chalmers said.

Joakim Noah scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who got 12 from Taj Gibson and 10 from Marco Belinelli. Game 2 is Wednesday night in Miami.

“We’re not really a flashy team,” Gibson said. “We like to go out and do our job.”

A pair of three-point plays by James — one of them coming when he just broke through a tackle attempt by Butler and muscled the ball to the rim anyway — gave Miami a 76-69 lead midway through the fourth quarter, the biggest deficit Chicago faced all night.

The Bulls were undeterred.

Coming off a Game 7 road win in Brooklyn two nights earlier just to get into a series with Miami, the Bulls just kept grinding. When Ray Allen made a 3-pointer to give Miami an 80-78 lead, Butler came back with one of his own to put the Bulls back on top. When the Heat went up by three after James made a free throw with 2:22 left, Belinelli connected for 3 — on a second-effort possession — to knot the game.

Then when Robinson connected on a 20-footer with 1:18 left, the Bulls had the lead and plenty of swagger.

Wade missed a 3-pointer on the next possession, Robinson drove the lane and scored with 45.5 seconds left, and suddenly the Bulls were up 90-86. James drove against Butler and tried a 12-footer that missed everything, the Bulls got the rebound, Robinson made a free throw to stretch the lead to five and the stunner was complete.

Game 1 to the Bulls.

“It’s all about being tough,” said Butler, who played all 48 minutes for the third straight game. “We’re always going to be the underdogs, and we take pride in that. Everybody can overlook us, but we feel like we’re good enough to hang with a lot of these teams.”

It was a night that started with a celebration, James getting his MVP award from the commissioner.

“Thank you so much,” James said. “And let’s get ready to go.”

And with that, the game started.

Problem was, no one was ready to go.

The Heat missed their first seven shots — maybe rust really was a factor. It was 37-37 at the half, and James wore twice as many pairs of sneakers in the opening two quarters (two) as he had field goals (one). He had two points at the break, the lowest of his 120-game postseason career, on just 1-for-6 shooting.

He opened the second half with a 3-pointer. So the shoes were a quick fix.

But the Bulls were in for the long haul, and after James made the consecutive three-point plays to open a seven-point lead, Chicago answered with seven straight points, knotting the game at 76-76 when Belinelli made a 3-pointer with just less than 5 minutes left.

Momentum belonged to Chicago, and soon, so did the game.

“It’s just one game,” Belinelli said.

1
Text Only
Pro Sports
  • Mike Lopresti: Pacers remain puzzling So now what? The NBA playoffs began Saturday night, and nothing had changed. They are still the Indiana Puzzles. They are still the enigma that no one can explain, least of all themselves. They are still a shadow of December, only now, the defeats start to really hurt.

    April 20, 2014

  • PACERS LEGEND 1.jpg Leonard still believes in the Pacers

    For the past 36 hours, the NBA universe has been buzzing about the decision made by Indiana Pacers' coach Frank Vogel to rest all of his starting five Wednesday in Milwaukee.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tiger Woods has back surgery, will miss the Masters

    Tiger Woods chose surgery to heal his ailing back over a quest for another green jacket, announcing Tuesday that he will miss the Masters for the first time in his career.

    April 1, 2014

  • SPT - HB0325 - Adam Lind swing Momentum swinging in Lind's favor Adam Lind is hitting .386 with one home run and seven RBIs through 15 Grapefruit League games this spring.

    March 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0322 - Grigson art Grigson happy with offseason additions Though he stopped just short of declaring his shopping spree over, Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson made it clear Friday he's happy with the team's offseason haul.

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0318 - Bremer mug George Bremer: Irsay's plight not about football Jim Irsay has a problem.

    March 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • George Bremer-2.JPG George Bremer: Irsay's plight not about football

    Jim Irsay has a problem.

    March 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_irsaymugshot.jpg Colts owner Jim Irsay arrested

    Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was arrested Sunday night in the northern Indianapolis suburb of Carmel on preliminary charges of driving while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance, Hamilton County Sheriff's Department Deputy Bryant Orem said.

    March 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0316 - Nicks photo Nicks betting deal with Colts will pay off Hakeem Nicks is betting on himself. The 25-year-old wide receiver with a Super Bowl ring and a long injury history from five years with the New York Giants chose a fresh start in Indianapolis because he believes the pieces are in place for the franchise to make a long postseason run.

    March 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0315 - Nicks art Colts add WR Nicks on one-year deal The Indianapolis Colts wide receiver corps was severely depleted in the second half of the 2013 season. On Friday, the franchise bought an insurance policy for this fall.

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

Photographer’s pick
AP Video
Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement Raw: UConn Celebrates for Second Straight Night UConn Women Win NCAA Basketball Championship Raw: Workers at Brazil Olympic Park on Strike Some Arrests As Fans Celebrate UConn Win UConn Wins NCAA Men's Basketball Championship UConn Wins NCAA Men's Basketball Champsionship Connecticut, Kentucky Fans React to NCAA Win Connecticut, Kentucky Meet for the Title AP Player of Year: Creighton's Doug McDermott Fearsome Final Foursome Head to North Texas College Athletes Take Labor Cause to Washington Northwestern Practices After Union Ruling Woods Has Back Surgery, Will Miss the Masters Raw: Obama, 'Big Papi' of Red Sox Take Selfie Raw: LA Angels Don Baylor Suffers Leg Injury Seahawks, Sounders Visit Town Near Mudslide Milwaukee Brewers' Adopted Mascot Is Big Hit Tigers' Cabrera Gets Record $292M, 10-year Deal
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin