MIAMI (AP) – Only one team has held the Miami Heat below 90 points on their home floor this season. That would be the Chicago Bulls and, for good measure, they’ve now done it twice.
So by now, it’s obvious: If there’s a team in the NBA that has Miami’s number, it has to be the Bulls.
Nate Robinson scored 27 points and dominated in the final minutes – after needing 10 stitches to sew up his lip – while Jimmy Butler added 21 points and a career high-tying 14 rebounds as the Bulls pulled off a stunner by beating Miami 93-86 Monday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
The second game was scheduled for this Wednesday night, also in Miami.
Actually, maybe it’s not that much of a stunner anymore. Since LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all ignored overtures from the Bulls and decided to team up in Miami three years ago, Chicago has a 9-8 record against the Heat.
“I’ve played on some tough teams,” Robinson said.
“But this one, there’s something a little different, something special about this group.”
It was only one game, something plenty of Bulls players and coach Tom Thibodeau pointed out incessantly afterward. But even a 1-0 lead in a series typically leads to advancement, so for the Heat, adversity arrived in a big way in a season where little has gone wrong.
“It’s not going to be pretty but playoffs are ugly,” said Bosh, who was held to nine points on 3-for-10 shooting. “That’s what it’s about. It’s been a little bit too pretty around here, to be honest with you.”
When it comes to facing Miami, the Bulls have plenty figured out.
They snapped Miami’s 27-game winning streak in the regular season – the second-longest in NBA history – and then toppled the champs again, this time ending a run of 12 straight Heat victories overall. Miami has lost five games at home this season, two to the Bulls, who held them to 89 on Jan. 4.
James struggled through a two-point first half before finishing with 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Wade added 14 for the Heat, who had no one else in double figures, shot 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.”