Game One Stats:
Joakim Noah: 9 points, 14 rebounds (8 offensive), 2 steals, 2 blocks
Chris Bosh: 30 points, 9 rebounds
Udonis Haslem: Out
For the first time in these playoffs, Chicago showed up in game one. The Bulls pretty much need to do exactly what they did in game one, while Miami has to make all the adjustments.
Chicago didn’t shoot great, just 43.7 percent from the field, but they did shoot 47.6 percent from three (10-21). And they made up for that poor shooting in another aspect.
The Bulls absolutely dominated that glass, grabbing 45 rebounds to Miami’s 33. But it was really on the offensive glass that Chicago did their damage (a crazy 41.3 offensive rebound rate). The Bulls won that battle 19 to 6. Joakim Noah out-rebounded the Heat on the offensive glass by himself, with eight.
Chicago scored 31 second chance points. Miami had just 8. That’s a 23 point difference, when Chicago won by 21 points. There’s your difference.
And the Bulls needed those second chance points, because Miami shot pretty well. The Heat shot 47.1 percent from the field, and perfect from the line (15-15).
That foul shot number is low though. Through the playoffs, Wade is averaging 9.0 free throw attempts per game, while LeBron is getting there 8.7 times per contest. That’s more than 15 right there, and in game one they only had eight trips to the charity stripe between the two of them. Chicago needs to keep Wade and LeBron from driving, to keep them off the line, to keep their scoring down.
The Bulls did a really good job on LeBron and Wade, even when they switched off (Noah and Gibson specifically). But Deng, Bogans and Brewer also should get a lot of credit for harassing the Biggest Two, and making them work for everything. Miami isn’t deep like Chicago, so they rely on a fewer players to do more.
If Chicago can tire Wade, LeBron and Bosh, it will be huge. Wade and LeBron had been averaging 25 points each per game. Wade was 4-6 in the paint, but shot just 7-17 overall. From 10-23 feet he was just 1-6. LeBron shot 5-15, just 1-4 at the rim and 2-6 from 16-23 feet. Plus Wade got dunked on by Taj Gibson…did you see that? Seriously, did you?
The Miami Heat bright spot was Chris Bosh. He was 12 of 18 from the field, for 30 points and he also grabbed nine rebounds. But even with those scoring numbers, it wasn’t all good news for Bosh. He recorded a plus/minus of -15. Actually everyone on the Heat had a negative plus/minus, with Wade topping out at -22. And while every Miami player had a negative plus/minus, every single Chicago players posted a positive one.
Miami will surely make some changes, but the Bulls should still win if they put together something similar to game one. The Heat’s biggest issue will be securing the defensive rebounds. And if they send more guys at the glass, it could open up shooters on the outside.
The Bulls also turned to the Rose-Korver pick-and-roll late in the game. It was forcing Miami’s two poorer defenders to play a really tough pick-and-roll. Rose can drive or shoot, and Korver’s quick release has to keep them honest.
Miami isn’t going to just roll over though; they’re going to come out even harder.
“We’ve been able to bounce back this year no matter if it’s been the regular season or the postseason,” James said. “Learn from mistakes in the previous game and then move on. We’ve done that. We’re looking forward to the challenge, we’re excited about tomorrow’s opportunity to be here and try to steal homecourt.”
It will be hard for the Heat to make changes on the glass that will work, as Chicago also out-rebounded the Heat during the regular season by more than ten.
“It’s not about bigger bodies, it’s about wanting the ball,” Bosh said.
The Bulls wanted it more most of the regular season, and definitely wanted it more in game one. Will that stay the same tonight?
About the Author:
Braedan Ritter was born and raised in Pennsylvania but was swayed by gifts from his aunt to follow the Chicago sports teams. It didn’t hurt that the Bulls had a guy named Michael Jordan playing for them, and the Sixers had…Derrick Coleman. Braedan has stuck with Chicago through thick and thin, and really thin (see: Chicago Cubs). And speaking of Coleman, Braedan is currently a student at Syracuse University.