After their surprising game 1 victory over the Miami Heat on Monday, the Chicago Bulls were able to send a message to the Heat that this series will be won with effort not talent. Many analysts spent most of Tuesday picking out reasons why the Heat were simply rusty after not playing for seven days. Nonetheless, the Heat entered game 2 on Wednesday with the sense that they had to win before the series headed to Chicago on Friday.
The key for the Bulls, who were once again without Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng, in the first quarter on Tuesday would be to weather the initial storm from the Heat. That is what the Bulls were able to do for the quarter despite the fact that LeBron James scored 12 of the Heat’s 25 points in the quarter. Speaking of James, both he and Joakim Noah were involved in an altercation towards the end of the quarter that resulted in both players receiving a technical foul. James responded by scoring as the clock expired to give the Heat a 25-20 lead as the first quarter concluded.
In the second quarter, the physical play continued between the Bulls and Heat; this time the culprits were Marquis Teague and Norris Cole that resulted in Teague getting a technical foul. That was not the only technical foul issued on the Bulls as Nate Robinson received one for taunting the Heat prior to a timeout. The Heat were able to overcome the physical play as they expanded their lead by outscoring the Bulls 30-21 in the second quarter to give them a 55-41 lead at halftime.
With one half in the books, one would had to have thought if the Bulls physical play was hurting them especially when you consider the fact that team was not getting nearly as much calls as the Heat were. During the first half, the Heat converted 12 of their 17 free throw attempts while the Bulls converted 8 of their 10 free throw attempts. The key to beating the Heat in the regular season was to be physical, however the Heat responded well to the Bulls’ physicality in the first half of game 2.
In the third quarter, the Heat turned this game into a laugher. The Heat outscored the Bulls 30-15 in the third quarter and extended their lead 85-56. The Bulls did not play with the same physical presence in the third quarter that they did in the first half, and that is reason why the Heat took firm control of the game.
The fourth quarter saw the Bulls’ emotions get the best of them as Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were ejected from the game. Nonetheless the fourth quarter represented garbage time as the Heat cruised to a 115-78 victory.
While LeBron James only scored 19 points in the game for the Bulls, the league MVP was 7-12 shooting with a +/- of +25 for the game. For the Bulls, there was no player of significance but Marco Belinelli led the team in scoring with 13 points.
As the series shifts to Chicago, the Bulls have to be pleased with the fact that the series is split despite their blowout loss in game 2.
Game 3–the possible Derrick Rose return game–is on Friday at 7 p.m.