The Miami cHeat: Over at ESPN's Heat Index, Brian Windhorst wrote: "The Bulls didn't do anything special in their 103-82 victory -- they did exactly what the scouting report said they would. They rebounded and played defense. The Heat reacted to it not like the surging favorites they had been tagged following their five-game takedown of the Boston Celtics in the previous round, but instead like the junior varsity."
With all due respect to Windhorst...saying the Bulls "didn't do anything special" makes me wonder whether he was watching the game with a potato sack on his head. Did he miss Dywane Wade isolating against Joakim Noah and getting his shot swatted? Or LeBron James isolating against Taj Gibson and getting his attempt deflected? Or Kyle Korver -- trapped in a one-on-one situation -- knocking the basketball away from Wade? Korver ended up deflecting the ball out of bounds, giving the ball back to the Heat, but come on.
The Bulls were playing inspired basketball. And it was pretty special.
Now let's talk stats. The Bulls scored 22 points off 16 forced turnovers, went 10-for-21 from downtown, and outrebounded Miami 45-33. Furthermore, Chicago's Bench Mob outscored their Heat counterparts 28-15.
Those are impressive numbers.
Even more impressive was the fact that the Bulls held James and Wade to a combined 11 points in the second half. In fact, both James (15 points, 5-for-15, -14) and Wade (18 points, 7-for-17, -22) looked pretty mortal. They each finished with only four free throw attempts and a co-game-high 4 turnovers each.
Miami advanced past the Celtics by repeatedly isolating their two superstars. None of the Boston players -- individually or as a group -- could stay between those men and the basket. That didn't work against the Chicago D. Not in Game 1 anyway. With the Bulls keeping James and Wade out of the paint, and shutting down Miami's fast break, the cHeat mustered only 34 points in the second half.
Now for the absurd numbers. Chicago had a 19-6 edge in offensive rebounds that led to an unbelievable 31-8 advantage in second chance points. The cHeat could not protect their defensive glass. Noah had 8 offensive rebounds. Carlos Boozer had 4. Gibson had 3. Heck, even C.J. Watson had 2.
The Bulls didn't shoot all that well -- 43.7 percent as a team -- but they had an insane offensive rebounding percentage of 41.3. When a team rebounds four out of every 10 missed shots, that gives them a pretty distince advantage.
Said LeBron: "You play defense hard and the shot goes up and they get an offensive rebound, kick it out for a three or get a layup or a dunk. Those are demoralizing for a defensive team."
Added Coach Spo: "It really deflated us and we lost our concentration. The offensive rebounding really affected us."
Wait, wait, wait. These are professional basketball players, right? LeBron has won two MVP awards. Wade was the Finals MVP of a championship team. The cHeat have two of the best five players on the planet and Chris Bosh had a 30-point night. But...their team got demoralized? Maybe they should have just boxed out instead.
Obviously, this is a one-game sample, and people shouldn't get too excited about Chicago's chances or too down about Miami's. Still, last night's game was like a war of attrition. The cHeat got worn down. Remember: They depend on big games from Bosh, James and Wade every night. Those guys played almost 40 MPG during the season and are logging 40 or 40+ during the postseason. They aren't getting anything from their bench. At some point, that's got to have an effect, right?
Dwyane Wade, quote machine: "I don't even remember shooting in the fourth quarter. We were throwing up some Hail Marys."
Dwyane Wade, one-on-one machine: After a five-game fun fest of breaking ankles against the Celtics, let's just say Dwyane and the Heat found it a little bit more difficult to tap dance past the Bulls.
Dwyane Wade, poster boy: Taj Gibson fed Pookie a Spalding Burger with an extra side of "YEEEEAAAAAARRRGGHHH!!!"
Dwyane Wade, quote machine: "That was a good one. First time I got dunked on all year. I'll take my 90-to-1 blocks to dunked on ratio. It was a very athletic play. I knew I didn't have a chance."
Joakim Noah, quote machine: "It was unbelievable. The one on Wade was crazy and the one at the end of the game was crazy, too. I've been calling him 'Light Feet' for a long time. That's his nickname around here...he's got a few nicknames, but 'Light Feet' is one of them."
Taj Gibson, quote machine: Believe it or not, Gibson's posterization of Wade was only his second favorite dunk of the night. This was the first:
"That just shows that no matter what the score is, no matter how much time is left in the game, you never stop playing. You want to keep playing til the clock runs out and that's Thibs' motto: Play 48 minutes. And tonight we wanted to go out there and show that we can play 48 minutes of tough basketball."
Erik Spoelstra, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "We took it on the chin."
The Memphis Grizzlies: I'm only giving the Care Bears an entry because they lost. They kept their composure and fought to the end, but they couldn't contain Kevin Durant down the stretch. They don't have anything to be ashamed of. To be honest, I knew after they dropped the triple OT game they were going to lose the series...that they couldn't win another one in Oklahoma City.
I'm pretty interested to see what happens with this team next season. Assumina Rudy Game returns from injury and can be successfully re-integrated, and also assuming they re-sign Marc Gasol, the Griz -- behind Zach Randolph -- could become a power.
No. Really. It could happen.
With that, I leave you with Z-Bo's theme song.
Chris' Playoff Lacktion Report:
Grizzlies-Thunder: Ishmael Smith sailed into the sunset on an eight-bit sea after a 15-second Mario, while Daequan Cook baked a celebratory cake comprised of FOUR bricks from...uh...Bricktown and a turnover in 10:54 for a +5!!!
El (Oh El) Heat-Bulls: Ahhh...South Beach repped itself well today, judging from Udonis Haslem's +1 suck differential in 4:12 via brick, Eddie House's +2 in 2:14 via brick and turnover, and Juwan Howard's 2.2 trillion (2:14).