With the required caveats that a) this was one game of a seven game series and b) the Heat can still win on Wednesday and accomplish the stated goal of every team that opens a playoff series on the road…it’s hard not to get excited after watching the Bulls eviscerate the Heat in Game 1.
Why? Because there were no surprises. No flukes. It’s not as if Kyle Korver went ballistic and powered the Bulls to a double-digit victory. If anything, the statistical outlier was on Miami’s side, as they wasted a 30-point effort from Chris Bosh. No, this was just the Bulls doing what the Bulls do – playing defense and rebounding as if the lane and the ball, respectively, were members of their immediate family.
What did jump out was how these two strengths for the Bulls – defense and rebounding – exacerbated a weakness for Miami – depth. Extra possessions and a flurry of athletic bigs have a way of sapping the energy of Miami’s starters, and once you get beyond the starters, you see things happening like Jamaal Magloire playing in a 2011 conference finals game. That won’t work. But what’s going to change? Miami can’t acquire non-stiffs to fill out their roster sometime between now and Wednesday. What was especially jarring was the long stretches where Rose and Boozer were on the bench, resting up for a closing kick that was never needed….and the Bench Mob played Miami to a +2.
What the Heat will need is an enormous effort from LeBron, Wade and probably Bosh, too. Which is what they signed up for, right?