Drink: Indianapolis Tap Water
With all of the shenanigans that went down this summer, every non-Heat fan took note of when their team would face off against Miami. Seeing that the Bulls would wait to mid-January to take their turn, it was expected that both teams would be settled into their systems and in mid-season form. However, as the day dawned, each team was without a key piece to the puzzle: LeBron James and Joakim Noah. What makes both these players even more interesting in regards to this game is that each offers a match-up problem for the other. The Heat are weak in the center position and, well, LeBron is a match-up problem for any team. So while this is still a marquee match-up against two of the East’s top teams, it is just not what we may see when these teams meet later on… possibly when its win or go home.
The NBA is a league of runs, and this game lived up to that stereotype. The Bulls started this game well, opening up a lead that hovered around 10 to end the first and continue into the second quarter. The Heat then ran as the second progressed, taking over all the momentum and closing the half up, 53-48. During this stretch the Bulls offense got really stagnant.
The Heat are a very thin team. With LeBron on the bench, this should be a team that the Bulls can take out without much difficultly. Instead, these teams exchanged runs, as the Bulls came out a went on a 10-0 run to start the third quarter. Yet, the Bulls could not put away the Heat, which, in all honesty, made for a very entertaining fourth quarter.
This game has produced some headlines about Derrick Rose. Articles are focusing on how he carried the Bulls on his back to a victory over Wade and the Heat. While this is true, writers are making it sound like he is taking the “next step.” What they fail to mention is that he has been doing this all season. However, with the hype of the match-up, going against fellow Chicagoan, Wade, and Rose recently taking the lead over Rondo in All-Star voting, national media took notice. I guess any national recognition is a positive, it is just fun to point out the normal national media short-sightedness.
In the end, Rose dropped 34 points as the Bulls got a victory against a top team in the East. This win puts team two games behind the Heat in the East, for the third position in the conference. If the playoffs started today, the Bulls would play the NY Knicks – which is fun to note, but hardly means anything at this point.