Chicago crushes Miami, killing them in all phases

The first half was close.   In fact, the first quarter was scary.    The Heat started off generating all kinds of fast break points, getting out in transition, getting offensive rebounds.   All of the things Chicago needed to do to stay in the game, the Heat were doing even better.

The Bulls turned it around in the second quarter.   They stopped Miami's transition game.  They stopped Miami's offensive rebounding.   They started to come back behind the strength of their depth.  The game was still close, as the Bulls shooting was average, and Miami still hit shots, but the fundamentals started to shift.

Then the third quarter happened

The Bulls defense swarmed.    The Bulls dominated the glass.   Miami scored just 15 points, and the Bulls, behind Derrick Rose's hot three point shooting, scored 24.    The Heat started to feel the pressure.   The pressure that I openly wondered whether or not they could recover from.   The pressure they haven't felt in quite some time...

And they folded.

The Bulls dominated the fourth quarter.   When Miami tried to go on a run, the Bulls answered.   When Miami missed, Chciago threw down more points.    A solid lead turned into a rout.   The Heat left the court with plenty of questions and few answers.

Derrick Rose wasn't even at his best, nor did he need to be

I think that has to be the scariest thing for the Heat.   Rose was 10-22 for 28 points.   He shot the ball well from the outside, but otherwise had a fairly nondescript game relative to what he's done in much of these playoffs.  He only had six assists vs four turnovers.

While he certainly still keyed the Bulls offensive attack, he's played much better in these playoffs in other games.  He has considerable upside to his performance tonight.  Miami hasn't seen Rose's best punch in the playoffs yet.

Joakim Noah most definitely does not need to buy a dog

Don't worry about his 4/14 shooting night, many of his misses were on tips that went down as offensive rebounds and a miss.   For that reason, his 8 offensive rebounds are also a bit inflated, but he did really hurt the Heat on the glass and at the end, when Miami needed big rebounds, Joakim Noah was there making sure they didn't get them.

However, his work on the glass, while commendable, wasn't his biggest contribution.  Joakim's defense just crushed what the Heat wanted to do.   He even defended Wade in isolation and came up with a block as Wade could not lose him off the dribble.  Joakim's shown he can defend anyone on the floor.   His quick rotations and energy dominated this game.

When Luol Deng makes his threes, this team is tough to beat

Deng was 4/6 from beyond the arc, and at a point where his overall shooting percentage wasn't so high, Deng managed to hit all the majority of the long ones. 

However, while his 21 points of offense were big, his defense on LeBron was bigger.  Now Deng didn't hold LeBron down on an island by himself.  He had plenty of help, but his defense at the point of attack is so fundamentally strong that it makes it extremely difficult for LeBron to split the double team when it comes or to get off an easy look.

LeBron's going to play better in this series than he did tonight, but for one night, Luol Deng dominated the SF matchup on both ends of the court.

Carlos Boozer is coming around

He's still a bit limited, but he hurt the Heat on the glass and managed to score 14 on 5/10 shooting.   He's stepping up to give the Bulls a nice offense and did a nice job finishing off interior passes. 

Who knows if the Bulls get more from Boozer or not.  He's definitely not at his regular season best, but he's playing much better than he was earlier in the season and is providing efficient offense for the team again.

Return of the Bench Mob

The Bench Mob didn't play much against Indy, and they didn't always play much against Atlanta until the end.   However, the bench mob is back into their more normal rotation, and the Bulls depth was a huge factor.   Omer Asik was great despite a couple of 'bad hands' turnovers.   He even defended LeBron well off an iso (though LeBron hit a contested three, Asik stopped his dribble penetration twice and forced a contested three).

Taj Gibson just beasted Miami.   He had both of the highlight dunks of the night with an incredible two handed stuff over Dwyane Wade on a fast break pass from C.J. Watson, and a wicked tomahawk putback jam off a C.J. Watson missed three near the end of the game.

Ronnie Brewer is defending at a high level again, and the Bulls had so much depth in terms of defense against LeBron and Wade because of the hard work of Deng, Brewer, and Bogans, that the Heat's star players just looked worn out by the end of the game.

Can the Bulls hold LeBron and Wade into check this well again?

They combined for just 33 points, and they also combined for eight TOs.   The Bulls swarmed them and stopped the isolation oriented offense, and the Heat didn't adjust well enough to move the ball around.

I'm not sure that the Bulls can do this to LeBron and Wade again, but I am pretty sure that Chris Bosh doesn't have another 30 point game in this series.   That's the beauty of this game. 


In the end, it came down to hustle points

The Bulls had 19 offensive rebounds to the Heat's six.   They forced more turnovers and got to more loose balls.   They simply played at a much higher energy level, and outside of LeBron and Wade, had so much more athleticism on the floor that Miami simply couldn't cope.

Final thoughts

I couldn't be more proud of this team than I am tonight.   They came into this game, perhaps a must-win game, and they just took it to the Heat in all phases of the game.  They made the Heat look like they were buying their own hype too much. 

I even loved the post-game attitude where the Bulls were fairly stoic about their big win, knowing that they're going to get a better effort from Miami.   Knowing that LeBron's probably not going to be held to 15 next game, and Dwaye Wade probably eclipses 18 as well. 

One game in, and Chicago has made a statement to their doubters, including myself.   Now let's see what they do in game two.

Comments

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  • Bulls were a little nervous in the first quarter and gave them some easy points. It could have been a bigger blowout:-)

    But there is no better night than tonight for me because that d-bag "Wade" got stuffed so badly by Taj..

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    You mean when Taj dunked all over wade or when Noah defended Wade in isolation and stuffed him? Both were epic, though the first more so ;)

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Both plays, by Noah and Taj, were epic.
    But you know what went through my mind during that troublesome first period, when Rose was making such a mess of things by sloppy play and turning the ball over, was Rose's uncharacteristic screaming, nay, hollering and shouting and gesticulating at Noah over a pass he threw to Noah and was not collared with about 3 minutes to go in that blown out game against Atlanta that clinched the Bulls place in the Eastern Conference final.
    It was uncalled for and rude to a player he has held as a close friend. A player who hardly makes mistakes, in fact I wonder if Noah was to blame for not catching that pass which sped past him and into the stands. It was probably wild and a case of missed communication between the two. I've seen Rose do a lot of shit and be given a free pass by fans because he's Rose. As was noted by posters on another blog, Rose's behavior was alarming!

    I hope last night was a lesson for him to learn from because he alone cannot carry this team. Michael Jordan learned that during his epic years with the Chicago Bulls.

  • In reply to Normie:

    stfu!

  • In reply to jaymccray:

    Twothree, was that vile comment aimed at me? Why don't you have the guts and intelligence to respond to my post in proper writing so we can see if you had any proper schooling.

  • In reply to Normie:

    hilarious, coming from you Mr adhominum attack.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I'm not sure it was due to nerves. The Bulls have a disturbing habit of making careless, unforced turnovers which are deadly against the Heat. They did just that in the first quarter, giving the Heat easy points and the lead. They got better in the second quarter, and the score was even at the half. No turnovers committed in the second half, along with a large rebounding edge, and good perimeter shooting led to an easy win.

  • After tonight's game, we have to worry that the Bulls don't revert to their old pattern of playing down to their competition.

  • In reply to Waldock:

    Love it ROFL :)

  • In reply to Waldock:

    Zing!!!

  • In reply to Waldock:

    Classic! I like that Waldoock!

  • Any doubters still out there? C'mon, where's your bitching now?

    See, the difference between these two teams is one is a team and the other one just thinks it is. One is just going to keep coming and coming and coming, and will never, ever give up, the other folds when the going gets rough. One is mentally strong who goes about its business workmanlike, knowing it has to earn success, while the other is mentally soft, thinking they're entitled just by showing up.

    Go ahead doubters, bitch about Boozer, Thibs, or whomever. But I think it's alot more fun to enjoy the ride.

  • In reply to zentastic:

    ha ha! Yes sir! I'm so proud of our team. Keep it up boys, don't let up!

  • In reply to zentastic:

    haha, love it!

  • In reply to zentastic:

    great game, but Boozer was still Boozer, which means he was non-existant on D. Go back and watch some tape, every Miami score at the rim, Boozer is standing there under the rim or the backboard watching the guy lay it in. He is practically an escort down the lane.

    anyone remember the last time that Boozer committed a foul playing defense, all his fouls are offensive or loose ball going for a rebound. for a supposedly physical big man that is as telling a sign that he just doesn't even try to play D.

    The win was awesome, but it came despite Bozo being Bozo not because of him. Right now Taj is a better post player than Boozer, never mind the difference on the defensive end. And Asik who barely shows up in the box score has far more impact(positive impact) on the game in his short minutes than Boozer does in starters minutes.

    It doesn't make one a doubter to recognize that Boozer is the power forward version of Ben Gordon, except he isn't giving you the occasional quarter where he carries you on offense.

    You guys are all going to hate Boozer soon enough, when his contract costs us both Taj and Asik.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    let it go man, your hatred of the guy is getting tiring. He makes the team better, and defense was not a problem in the game.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    If you are a huge Bulls fan and want the chance to be on TV and root for your team, check out the posting on http://www.facebook.com/JimmyKimmelLive

  • Great game 1 win by the Bulls and as I said on the last thread... let's not get too excited about this win Bulls fans cause this Miami team will make their adjustments and probably present more of a challenge for game 2.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Miami is at the cliff's edge in game two. If they lose that one, their odds of coming back are near zero. I agree they'll bring their best shot. Let's see if the Bulls can take it.

    I thought Miami could beat the Bulls, but the other thing I thought is that Miami hasn't faced any playoff adversity at all, and they tend to lose in bunches. If Chicago wins game two, this could end in five pretty easily.

    Of course winning game two will be the difficult challenge.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Doug,you are going to regret this response. I am on a high also but Lebron and Wade will get back at us.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    J.F. I agree with Doug a whole lot. Game two may be more important in terms of Miami than to Chicago. Granted the Bulls need to hold home court. But if Miami goes down 0-2, the pressure and anxiety will be sky high to keep the bulls from getting a game in Miami. Now we may be a little ahead of ourselves. But Miami has to find answers to the Bulls bench and the Bulls front line by game 2. The pressure is building, possibly being ready to burst...As Stacey King says,"Pressure will bust pipes!"

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Why would I regret that response? It's an "if then" type thing. I think Miami probably comes out and wins game two, and this series is really tight, but IF they lose game two, then I think the Bulls will roll.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I feel the opposite. Bulls win game 2 but the series would hardly be over heading to Miami

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I wouldn't predict the Bulls necessarily winning in 5 if they win game 2. But I think if the Bulls do win game 2 they'll win the series, even if it goes 7.

  • In reply to magestew:

    I do too, however the chances are definately closer to 20% than they are 0%

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Tell that to Dallas who jumped up 2-0 to Wade's Heat in the 2006 Finals only to collapse with the help of some of the worst officiating ever. With James & Wade on the floor, its hardly zero.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    But yes, the Bulls can and will take their best shot. 12-0 baby! 12-0 in our last 12 against the top 4 seeds of both conferences. 9-3 in the playoffs, which is remarkably good for a team that people don't think have played all that many quality games.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    If that Dallas team played defense the way the Bulls do now, no way Miami comes back to win that series i 06.

  • In reply to magestew:

    techenhance, You've nailed it buddy! These Bulls are not the 2006 Dallas Mavericks. If Miami goes down 2-0 this series could end in 5 or 6.

  • In reply to Normie:

    it could, but that doesn't mean it WOULD

    of course we are better than that Dallas team, but do ya'll understand how rigged that thing was?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    nothing, NOTHING is over until you get to 4 wins. I like my chances more with every win, but its foolish to believe anything is over until its over, just like there is no such thing as a must win until you face an elimination game

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Wade and Lebron are likely to score a lot more than 33 points combined, their playoff average is 54, 21(the margin of victory)more than they scored in game one.

    And the Bulls are not likely to shoot 10-21 from the 3, winning that battle by 21, again the margin of victory.

    We won he second chance points battle by 23, the one thing that we could repeat.

    Even in a blowout, the margin of victory, or margin for error is much smaller than it seems.

    Miami is a team that can be made to quit, as they did in the second half, but the Bulls cannot have a let down at any point in this series. They really have to play their game(defense, rebounds and Derrick) for 48 minutes every game.

  • I am so proud of the Bulls! That was just complete domination and devastating, smothering, championship caliber Defense with a capital D.

    The crazy thing is that wasn't even the Bulls best game...not even close.

    The Bullies can do better, and they will have to, but at least for tonight the Bulls and the city of Chicago can sleep well knowing that we gave the Heat a good punch in the mouth, and said, "Is that all you've got?

    Bulls in Five.

    Taj Gibson your table is ready. Lou finally gets the love he deserves after years of injuries and bashing by the fans.

    Team play, Defense, Hustle, Grit, Toughness, the best player on the court, and a Team full of guys that understand their roles.

    Good Night Chicago. Go Bulls!

  • In reply to zmorg77:

    This was the best the Bulls could play in many areas. 3 point shooting was way above their norm as was offensive rebounding and turnovers (they were low).

    The Heat did actually shoot a higher percentage from the floor than Chicago though (47%) and Derrick Rose actually had a fairly quiet 28 points.

  • Ahhhhh ... was that fun or what?!!!

    Taj ... oh my.
    Noah ... way to bring the energy man.
    Deng ... solid, as usual.

    Loved it all. Keep up the good work Bulls.

  • Could not agree more with zentastic!!!very well said my friend and lets everyone enjoy this amazing ride!!

  • People seem to be flat out oblivious to the fact you can afford mediocre shooting when you're pulling down a +15 rebound advantage.

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    Agree. The boards (and turnovers) will determine this series. Heat will shoot a better % than the Bulls but so long as we have significantly more shots than them we will continue to win.

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    What I loved most about the game is that nothing that happened was a surprise. For the first time in my life I have had the opportunity to watch 90% of the Bulls games this year and so have a good understanding of player strengths and weaknesses, set offences and defensive rotations. And last night all they did was played a GOOD game. Everyone did what I expect from them but few did much more tbh. Derrick after a shaky first 5 mins controlled the game but wasn't as dominant as we have got used to. Keith hit and missed his 3s (1-3). Luol played like we are now used to (and did it for 45 mins), he hit the open 3s, filled the stats sheet and D'ed up LBJ like we all knew he could. Carlos was solid, had a few defensive lapses but hey thats what we expect lol. And I think Joakim's granddad must have been in the crowd because he brought it. His offence was a little forced but he brought the one thing we always want from him ENERGY. The Bench Mob, they got their normal rotation times and didn't disappoint. I have said from the start of the playoffs that the Bench Mob needs to keep its minutes from the regular season. They are an asset and rarely let us down. I love listening to analysts who have rarely watched the Bulls (Reggie) how they rave so much about the play of Taj, Omer and Ronnie. To us Bulls fans its no surprise as they have been doing it all season. We all know Ronnie is our impact 6th man but for defence. We all know that Taj is a starter on most every other team and we all know Omer will develop into one of the top defensive centres over the next few years, so we are not surprised by their play last night. But yeah those dunks by Taj were a bit special!

    We are lucky to have a team of 11 players (12 if you include the White Mamba) that all can, have and will contribute to the success this year. Yes we have the MVP but now the best TEAM in the NBA deserves the accolades.

    So, Why can't our TEAM win the Championship???

    They can and last night they showed how.

    1. Cut out turnovers that give the Heat easy transition baskets
    2. Win the battle of the boards by +8 or more
    3. Win the hustle battle

    The Heat will shoot 50%. The Bulls will shoot 45%. But so long as we have 8 more shot we will win. Our defence and offensive rebounds can and will determine if we get sufficient extra shots to negate the difference in offensive efficiency and we will win the series.

    Go Bulls. I Believe

  • In reply to Jersey66:

    Totally agree with your keys to success esp. the turnover key.

  • In reply to Jersey66:

    Awesome game! Didn't think we would blow out the Heat in the 1st game! This is two good games by the Bulls in a row! Let's keep it rolling! The Bulls bench mob is awesome and we lead with them they don't just try to hold the fort like other bench guys!

    Taj was incredible! I wouldn't mind seeing him start but with how things are going keep it like it is...in Thib's I trust!

    GO BULLS!!!! :-)

  • In reply to Jersey66:

    My favorite moment was when LeBron tried to take Taj one-on-one at the top of the key. You know, that lazy NBA iso crap that is so dispiriting when it actually works. Taj defended him perfectly, however, and then partially blocked this shot. Afterwards, I could read his lips. He said, "F___ that!" He took it as a sign of disrespect that LeBron thought he could easily break him down.

    LeBron couldn't even break Omer down. Barkley said after the game that that was the "best defense he's ever seen in the playoffs." And seriously, has there EVER been a team that field not one, but THREE mobile big men (Noah, Gibson and Asik) who can defend, move and rebound at an extremely high level? I don't think so. Most teams are lucky to have just one (the Celtics, for example, don't have one, as Garnett can't move too well anymore). As a result, Miami looks a little afraid of the Bulls.

    Next task? Shut down Bosh, as Wade or James (or both) will shoot better next game. And hope that Thibs keeps playing the Bench Mob, as those guys are more overwhelming than any bench in recent NBA history. And Thibs has the brains to play them big minutes. Brewer was so locked in that it looked like he could shut down Wade OR LeBron without help.

  • In reply to ethanboldt:

    Curious E, you're still around? I thought you had gone back to Turkey, or you're still posting from Turkey? I can see you're still looking for ways to beef up your idol Omer. I think the last time I saw a post from you you said Omer Asik, Taj Gibson and Ronnie Brewer were better than Noah and Den. THERE GOES YOUR CREDIBILITY! Out the window!

  • In reply to Normie:

    "...Noah and Deng"

  • In reply to Jersey66:

    3 on 5 basketball will not win you games, when you need 85 points from 3 guys to win.

  • In reply to gibby6385:

    More like 3 on 10.

  • In reply to OhioBull:

    Ditto!

  • In reply to OhioBull:

    As much as I loved this win, I'm not fooling myself. LeBron and Wade will come back strong and give the Bulls some problems. I'm expecting the Heat to win one or two games in blowout or near-blowout fashion. But as long as the Bulls keep their composure and the refs let them play, the Bulls can grind out 3 more wins in the 6 remaining games.

  • In reply to Jersey66:

    that's cool man, this is the first year I could watch 90+% of the games too. Thank you league pass and DVR! I learned a lot about the game & our TEAM too, and I agree that was pretty much a good game by us and a great game plan. I do think Miami played poorly at times, but we have to take credit for a lot of that.I look for James & Wade to counter-productivly go into isolation eff you mode now, to try to take over the next game & get back in the series.

  • Hey, I just re-designed Miami's jersey. Just needed a little rearranging of letters. Hope this speaks to Doug and his feelings about LeBron's ass-hat-ery.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/37585850@N07/5724651847/

    (Sorry for repost but I posted this comment on the previous article minutes before Doug posted this one, and I really wanted to share).

  • In reply to bfranke:

    How about doing one for the Miami Bleat?

  • In reply to bfranke:

    The Bulls were so outstanding tonight. Honestly, The Heat beating Boston was fools gold. If the Celtics were healthy, that series would have went 7. Taj was an absolute monster tonight. When he first came into the league he reminded me of Joe Smith, but with the outstanding enthuasism, and great effort he shows, he's the modern day Horace Grant. I dont mean to create sour grapes, but its going to be interesting when his contract comes up for renewal. Even Steve Kerr said that he will probably become an all-league defender because of be able to guard multiple positions very well. You also have to credit Luol Deng, who did a great job on Lebron. Usually when LeBron is struggling with his shot, he goes into triple double mode and facilitates, but Deng totally took him out of his comfort zone. Lebron had 6 assists to 4 turnovers. I just dont see how the Heat are going to keep Noah, Taj, Asik, and Boozer off the boards. 1 down, 3 to go.

  • In reply to argie2333:

    tough thing about guys like Taj coming up big in playoff games, Taj just made himself more money, and will continue to do so until his rookie contract expires, making it more difficult to retain him. That's why I'm praying for another soft cap.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    unfortunately having Boozer on the books will likely cost us both Taj and Asik, which will also cost us the ability to win championships.

    We should all pray for the one time contract dump in the new CBA just like they did in 98.

    of course it will still depend on Reinsdorfs willingness to pay Boozer off in full while dumping his contract. He always says that he will pay for a championship contender, well it will soon be time to put his money where his mouth is

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Doubt Boozer's contract hurts us. The Hard cap is a pipe dream by the owners, and the Bulls will pay the luxury tax when playing this well and having title potential.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I agree about the later point, hope the former holds true. Hate to see what happened to the Blackhawks, happen to the Bulls.

    Seriously though, if Taj was a free agent this summer, he would have made a couple million last night. He still increased his value.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I agree about the later point, hope the former holds true. Hate to see what happened to the Blackhawks, happen to the Bulls.

    Seriously though, if Taj was a free agent this summer, he would have made a couple million last night. He still increased his value.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I hope that you are correct on both points, this team will be a lot less fun to watch without Taj and Asik. Even you have doubts about the Bulls paying the tax.

  • In reply to argie2333:

    Taj reminds me a lot of P.J. Brown...

  • In reply to argie2333:

    Taj reminds me a lot of P.J. Brown...

  • In reply to bfranke:

    rofl nice

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    How about the Miami (C)Heat!!!

  • In reply to AlgernonHPenn:

    I saw one nice photoshop of Lebron, Wade and Bosh with their Jersey's photo shops to say "SO" "OVER" "RATED" on them, that was pretty good.

  • In reply to bfranke:

    Sweet

  • Taj was my predraft pick at 26, of course I didn't expect Blair to still be there at 26 when I made my pick.

  • I believe the rule is that you can only activate players by series, so I think he's inactive for the whole series. I'm not 100% sure on that though.

  • Taj has been outstanding. A friend of mine who works for the team told me prior to the season starting in Taj's rookie year that Taj would be great and James Johnson would suck.

    I told him he was nuts.

  • The problem Spo will have is that Big Z doesn't have the mobility to guard any of the Bulls bigs. Z would make Noah look like a 7ft. version of Noah one-on-one, and Z would have a horrible time rotating in their team defense. Haslem will help if he gets healthy, but he's only one guy. If they play Haslem and Anthony, the defense and rebounding will be outstanding but they get NO offense. If they play Haslem and Bosh, it's the same as playing Anthony and Bosh with less shot-blocking: they'd be undersized against the Bulls front line.

  • In reply to magestew:

    I meant to say "Z would make Noah look like a 7ft. version of Rose one-on-one."

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