The Chicago Bulls took advantage of its mismatches in taking the first game of this best-of-seven series. Miami gave up too many second chance points, allowing the Bulls 31 second chance points and 19 offensive rebounds.
Chicago also out-shot Miami by 19 attempts, putting up 87 shots compared to only 68 for the Heat. This discrepancy is due to the great play on the boards by Chicago’s bigs.
Miami will lose this series if they cannot figure out a way to limit these second chance opportunities from Chicago. No team can survive giving that many more attempts to other team. Especially when that other team plays very well on the defensive side of the ball.
Both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James had inefficient nights for the first time in a long time. Miami cannot win when this happens. It will need both of its perimeter stars to make better decisions with the basketball. They settled too much for isolation in this first game.
Chris Bosh was seemingly unstoppable all night, finishing with 30 points and 9 rebounds. This was largely due to how Chicago was playing Wade and James. Bosh took advantage and put up points.
The telling statistic of this game has to be in the 3rd quarter, where Miami actually held Chicago to only 33% shooting, yet the Bulls extended their lead to double digits because of their ability to capitalize on second chances.
While the Bulls demonstrated their obvious advantage on the boards, the rebounding discrepancy in game 1 is unacceptable for Miami. The Heat did elect to go small for the majority of the game, and it might be something that Erik Spoelstra will want to take a closer look at.
As for the outlook for the rest of the series, I do not believe this is any reason to panic. Chicago is not a good 3 point shooting team, yet they shot nearly 50% from beyond the arc in game 1. That will not continue as this series goes on.
Miami actually held Chicago to a lower shooting percentage in this game. The Bulls only shot 43.7% from the field in game 1, compared to 47.1% by the Heat. Obviously another damning statistic showing the difference on the offensive glass.
In order for the Heat to bounce back, they will need to provide a much stronger, concentrated effort on the glass. It makes the game too easy for the opponent when they have multiple opportunities to score.
One player Spoelstra may want to consider playing more is Mike Miller. While his injuries certainly have effected his offense this season, he has been a very consistent rebounder for this team.
The Heat will continue to send two players at Derrick Rose, which in turn will leave the extra man in the paint for Chicago. Miller has shown all season that he has no problem throwing his body around to grab rebounds. He had 3 boards in only 3 minutes of action in game 1.
Overall, Miami is going to need to get more efficient basketball from its two superstars. Wade and James are both so much better than the effort they put out in game 1. Both have proven they can beat great defenses and it will need to be shown in game 2 if they want to have a chance at swinging home court advantage in their favor.
No question that Chicago was great in this first game and did exactly what they needed to do. However it is important that the Heat look at it as only one game, and there is still plenty of basketball to be played. Just don’t expect the nation to view it the same way, as I’m sure most pundits will be calling it a Chicago sweep after tonight.