I suppose that's the positive you can put on this game. In the end, the Bulls went into Miami and did what every road team sets out do do in the playoffs. They brought the series back to their turf with home court advantage. That was the spin Joakim Noah had after a physical game two where the Bulls were completely outclassed.
The problem, of course, is that what we saw in game two is what our brains have been telling us this whole time but our hearts didn't want to believe. The Bulls, especially with the injuries, simply aren't good enough to compete when Miami plays at its best.
That doesn't mean they have no shot at winning another game, and ultimately, it's not impossible that they win the series. However, in order to do so, they will need Miami to play well beneath their best while they themselves play at their best. While not completely impossible, it certainly doesn't inspire much hope.
A fully healthy Derrick Rose led Bulls team would be underdogs against these Heat, but when that squad played at its best, it'd have a shot at taking out the Heat even when they played well. Not so with a team missing Rose, Hinrich, and Deng. Remember the group on the floor that won an epic game seven against the Nets also lost games five and six.
That was the best thing about winning game one, it allowed Bulls fans to wear the veil of belief for two more days.
Somewhat irrelevant, but the refs lost control of this one
The Bulls and Heat both came out with a chip on their shoulder. You can see how angry Miami was about getting pushed around in game one, and they came out with a concerted effort to play physical basketball against Chicago resulting in a game that featured more technicals than you'll typically see a full series.
At times they let the players nearly mug each other while calling ticky tack fouls to reign things in the next play. It didn't impact the game in any significant fashion. You don't drop a game by nearly 50 because the officiating wasn't balanced, but it will be interesting to see what tone this game will set for game three from an officiating standpoint.
The problem for Chicago, is that with things getting out of control, game three is likely to be a foul-a-thon which bodes well for Miami regardless of whether they call the game evenly. Chicago needs games where the refs let them go at it, but after Miami came in and beat Chicago at its own game last night, the refs will be mindful not to let game three turn into a brawl.
Thibodeau immediately shot down the Rose rumors
I wasn't even going to give it a passing mention, but I suppose it deserves at least that. There was a rumor started by hoopsworld that Derrick Rose would return for Friday's game against the Heat in Chicago. I'm tempted to go Charles Robinson and say I'll eat my laptop if that happens, but I'm not a fan of electronics.
I'm done criticizing Rose for his decision. Ultimately, I just hope he's really dialed in for next season. However, stories like this are the reason why it'd be better if he stopped leaving everyone hanging and just said "no, I'm not coming back". If by some miracle he changes his mind, then that's fine, he can always go back on it, but it'd at least kill the story.
I recently read the Derrick Rose thread on realgm (I've stayed out of it) and was surprised with how overwhelmingly negative the die hard fan base [at least on realgm] is over Rose not playing. I'm a big disappointed, but I'm ready to welcome him back with open arms when the 2013/14 season tips off.
Any hope for Hinrich/Deng?
The real question for Chicago might be whether or not they can get Deng/Hinrich back. The pair hasn't always played well in the playoffs, but as the fouls mount, the Bulls will need them for perimeter depth to get Cook and Teague off the floor at the very least.
I don't have much hope for either guy playing in the series. I don't know much about the side effects Deng is suffering from his spinal tap, but when you're in the hospital for nearly a week, it just doesn't seem like a group of doctors are going to clear you to go play NBA basketball a day after being released.
According to yesterday's report, Hinrich's leg at least isn't purpose anymore, but he still has no ability to move remotely like he needs to in order to play basketball, so his return doesn't seem so likely either.
The Bulls do catch an extra day off between games three and four, so there's a shot that one of them might be ready by game four or game five which is almost a week away. If the Bulls manage to pull out another win then they might have a shot of returning for the tail end of the season.
Spoelstra finally adjusted
The Heat started putting quality defenders on Nate Robinson and trapping the hell out of him. Why they didn't do that in game one at the end of the game after being torched all game long is beyond me, but it was the adjustment I wouldn't have had to make, because I would have started out the series that way.
Robinson's improved his decision making, but the Bulls are still fundamentally the same team that couldn't deal with a Derrick Rose trap two years ago, how are they going to deal with it now with even less offensive talent on the floor and a player far easier to trap controlling the ball? It just seems like a no brainer.
The problem for Chicago is that there really isn't a good answer for them to play out of the trap. Robinson's size makes it hard for him to pass out of the trap at times, and the Bulls don't have enough offensive skill to frequently take advantage of it when it comes. They will need Butler/Belinelli to knock down lots of open threes.
That's the one thing that can slow the trap down, but the Bulls need to hope they can get the ball to those guys in open spaces, and Miami closes out really well when they put the effort in. It's going to be a tough battle.
How far can the Bulls go on heart, hustle, and will? My guess is still 1-4, but I'll hope they can prove me wrong like they have so many times already.