Drink: Broken Toe
Jumping Jehoshaphat! I haven’t seen shooting that bad since the filming of a Final Destination flick! The Bulls started 0-9 from the field to begin the game, and I think they somehow shot even worse as the game progressed. They not only shot ass-shitty from the field (34%), but they could not even take advantage from the free throw line (61.5%). And there is not a whole lot more to the story. Defense wins games, but that is assuming you also put the ball in the basket from time to time. The Bulls shot poorly in the first, yet still managed to put up 26 points. For a little perspective, the Bulls tallied a total of 29 second HALF points, including a robust 10 point fourth quarter performance.
Granted, the Heat’s defense was more inspired this game. Yet, as good as their defense may have played, a #1 seed should not be putting up numbers like 34% FG and 75 points. Plus, the Heat still have a bench that features players who should not be on an NBA roster, like Jamaal Magloire, Juwan Howard, and I think I saw Marcus Fizer, as well as broken players like Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem (who actually had a great Gibson-esque effort off the bench). It is key that we get points against these scrubs. Also, the Heat got on the boards as they promised, out rebounding the Bulls 45-41, led by Bron’s 10 and Wade’s 9 (just as they said they would).
It was interesting to see Thibs stick with Taj Gibson and Omer Asik (over Boozer and Noah) in the fourth. Thibs looked like he was going for defense with the pair, as Noah had some lapses and Boozer is Boozer. And it is interesting to note that when Aisk got elbowed in the chin by Wade and had to come out, the Heat finished the game with a 12-2 run with Noah in. Having a deep bench is great, but when it is out-performing the stars, that is less than great. At this point of the season, you would hope the Bulls would know who to go to when closing out games. Then you throw in there Korver’s (a normal close-out fixture) inability to guard and a 1-5 mark from three-point range, and the fourth quarter line-up could be in even more flux.
There was also the matter of a little hose job by the refs in this game. Since the Bulls ran for their first six titles, I have stood by the mantra that the better team can overcome poor officiating for the victory. It is too easy of a cop-out to blame the refs. And I do not think anyone believes that this game was out of reach for the Bulls by the way it was officiate. However, tonight’s contest was called much tighter than Game 1. There were quite a few chinsy calls, i.e. CJ Watson’s two fouls in under a minute into the second. Brian Scalabrine agrees, via twitter:
And he should know, he sat court-side for the game. Good view from there.
It was questioned whether the Bulls could keep up their intensity from Game 1. It turns out that they were able to do this just fine, they simply lost their shot. Considering another shooting performance like this is unlikely, this loss concerns me less than if they had defensive problems or the Heat exploited some match-up. I fully expect the Bulls to come back strong in Miami and take one of the two games, shoring back up home-court advantage.