The Miami Heat tip off the 2013-14 season with a dominating effort against the Chicago Bulls.
The Miami Heat (1-0) received their rings and showed the Chicago Bulls (0-1) why they deserved them in a 107-95 win Tuesday night.
Seven Heat players scored in double digits while none scored more than 17, a balanced and somewhat modest attack that we aren’t used to seeing from the big three-led crew.
LeBron James has a near-triple double with 17 points, six rebounds and eight assists on 5-of-11 shooting. With Jimmy Butler pinned to him much of the game, and Joakim Noah limiting his drives to the basket, this should be expected as James gets into season gear.
Chris Bosh, despite a slow start, scored 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Dwyane Wade scored 13 points, as did Mario Chalmers, who also contributed five steals. Shane Battier made all four of his three-pointers and finished with 14 points. Ray Allen had 11 points but also had seven assists, a Heat-career high.
Derrick Rose looked quick and strong, but ultimately struggled. He was just 4-15 from the field and scored just 12 points. He only had four free throw attempts in the game. However, Jimmy Butler proved he is worth the hype, scoring 20 points on 50 percent shooting and getting five steals. Despite early foul trouble, Carlos Boozer finished with 31 points on 13-of-18 shooting.
Bosh’s preseason carried over. Despite his first five shots being either misses or blocks, Bosh finished 6-of-11 from the floor for 16 points. Bosh bounced back, folks. That’s a big deal. He was aggressive when James was limited. He picked up the slack, along with the rest of the team.
This was a very balanced, and therefor impressive, effort. Like I said, this is a rarity on this big-three driven team. Of the nine guys who played, only two failed to score in double digits. Those players were Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen, who aren’t supposed to score a bunch of points in the first place.
Michael Beasley and Greg Oden did not play. Not much of a surprise, especially in regards to Oden. If the game was closer when James saw the bench, maybe Beasley would have played. They didn’t need them tonight, and why give a team you will likely meet in the playoffs any chance to practice against the new guys?
It was a short rotation tonight, as head coach Erik Spoelstra only sent nine players into action. No Roger Mason Jr., no Joel Anthony, no James Jones, no Rashard Lewis.
Wade played the second-most minutes on the team with 36. I highlighted this in my preview. I thought Spoelstra would try to set the tone for Wade’s minutes for the season by limiting his minutes. Instead, he may have opted to set the tone against the Rose-infused Bulls with a playoff-like rotation (nine guys, Wade played 36 minutes, James 38).
Finally, Jimmy Butler is very, very good. He will be a thorn in the Heat’s side. Spoelstra and James will have to sit down and figure out what to do about him.
The Heat play again Wednesday at the Philadelphia 76ers at 7 p.m. ET.
What were your takeaways from the game? Let us know in the comments section below.