I have to give credit where credit is due, no matter my personal feelings, but when the credit and the source are two that are equally enjoyable, then I'm a very, very happy writer. Such is the case after the Chicago Bulls whipped the Miami Heat 103-82 on Sunday night to take a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The game was everything I thought it could be and more.
Chicago came out and played to their strengths which is defensive intensity and inside rebounding, using both to abuse a smaller Heat lineup. They out rebounded the Heat 19-6 on the offensive end while limiting Wade and Bosh to an anemic 32 points total, 11 combined in the second half.
"You play defense. You play defense hard and the shot goes up and they get an offensive rebound, kick it out for a three or get a layup or a dunk," James said. "Those are demoralizing for a defensive team. We've got to figure out a way to clean that up."
Being outscored 31-8 on second chance points isn't going to win you any games and neither is failing to contain the opposing teams leading scorer. Miami allowed the Bulls Derrick Rose to play his game in the second half and the youngest MVP ever delivered. He had 28 points and 6 assists in the game 1 win, simply thrashing Miami's point guards, who he shot 53% against and had 21 points.
"He"s been doing it all season, this is nothing new," Carlos Boozer said. "D-Rose has grown up in front of our eyes this season and he's been the guy from training camp until now. That"s why he's the MVP."
For the Heat, it was a rare Chris Bosh sighting as he put up 30 points and 9 boards in perhaps his best playoff game of his career. Unfortunately, the sight of his contribution was so shocking to James and Wade that they were unable to contribute anything themselves.
"Dwyane and LeBron are going to create a lot of attention," Bosh said. "This is a good defensive team. … They're going to make them distributors. We have to look at where we fell short as a team for Game 1 and come back with a better approach."
The Heat will get their shot at redemption and evening this series Wednesday night.