Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat: Game 1 Postgame Grades and Analysis
Nate Robinson led all scorers with 27 points while LeBron James struggled to the tune of a two-point first half (he finished with 24 points).
Both teams made seven three-pointers.
Point Guards: Mario Chalmers and Nate Robinson
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Chalmers played 13 inconsequential minutes in the first half, scoring his lone two points on free throws after drawing a foul on Joakim Noah.
In the second half, he passed up an open layup on two separate occasions after dribbling in the paint and probing the defense from beneath the rim.
Robinson began the game missing his first three shots, all of them forced and under pressure via the shot clock.
As the game went on, he found his stroke from downtown, which he'll absolutely need to do if the Bulls are going to win at least one game in this series.
Robinson had difficulty dribbling out of traps above the three-point line, and he murdered Chicago's half-court offense on several possessions.
But he hit two huge shots in the final 90 seconds that put Chicago up four and sealed the game with some of the most miraculous late-game play you'll ever see.
Shooting Guards: Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler
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Wade's only significant play in the first quarter was a wide-open layup after driving baseline, but in the second frame he got hot, hitting several difficult jump shots over Joakim Noah's outstretched finger tips.
He finished the first half with eight points and in the second half came out the gate with a flurry of action in transition.
Wade had several bad fouls in the fourth quarter, finishing with 14 points on 16 shots.
Preventing LeBron James from doing what he wants on a basketball court is literally impossible for any one individual, but in the first quarter, Butler fronted James in the post and did an extremely good job of bodying him on the catch.
In transition, he looked for his own shot and got to the line.
In the fourth quarter, Butler was phenomenal, guarding James on one end and still having the energy to make off-ball cuts and finish through contact.
He scored 21 points in 48 minutes.
Small Forwards: LeBron James and Marco Belinelli
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James began the game setting up his teammates with a couple incredible passes but was tentative looking for his own shot. He scored just two points on 1-of-6 shooting, which is the type of half that's unheard of this season.
He began the third quarter by sinking a straightaway three-pointer and as the half went on, re-establishing himself as the league's most dominant offensive player.
In the fourth quarter, he finished at the rim with a beautiful and-1, as Jimmy Butler draped himself over James' shoulders.
Belinelli looked good on off-ball cuts to the basket, but he wasn't afforded the same type of space for penetration that he lived off in the first round.
In the fourth quarter, he hit a huge three-pointer to tie the game, tightly curling around a screen. He played a ton of minutes (46), but Belinelli's shot wasn't falling throughout Game 1.
He scored 10 points on 10 shots.
Power Forwards: Udonis Haslem and Carlos Boozer
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Boozer had a difficult time on both ends early, as he struggled to get the ball in comfortable situations and picked up two fouls in his first nine minutes.
He also blew a couple baseline rotations, allowing a LeBron James dunk and a Dwyane Wade layup.
Boozer scored just six points on 11 shots.
Haslem played only 18 minutes in Game 1, scoring four points on two wide-open baseline jumpers and grabbing three rebounds.
Not sure where his place is for the rest of this series, but the Heat might want to consider starting Shane Battier at power forward.
Centers: Chris Bosh and Joakim Noah
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Bosh started 0-for-4 with two fouls in his first seven minutes. He didn't make his first field goal until there were seven minutes left in the third quarter.
He finished with a grotesque nine points on 10 shots and looked incapable of getting into any sort of offensive rhythm whatsoever. Bosh also grabbed just six rebounds and was beaten several times on his own defensive glass.
Noah scored the first points of the game on a strong left-handed drive to the basket. In the second quarter, he made his impact known on the offensive glass, snatching a teammate's missed shot over Chris Anderson's head and putting it back with a layup.
He provided defensive intensity and served as the offensive center of everything Chicago is, and will be throughout the series, able to accomplish with their half-court offense.
Noah grabbed 11 rebounds and scored 13 well-timed points.
Sixth Men: Ray Allen and Taj Gibson
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On his first touch of the game, Allen drove to the middle and lost the ball on his way up for a jumper. But later in the second quarter, he ignited Miami's offense with a long two-pointer.
He hit one three-pointer in the entire game and was beaten horribly by Nate Robinson off the dribble on one of the game's most important sequences.
Gibson was forced into action earlier than normal after Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer both picked up two relatively early fouls, and he played very well on the offensive end, finding Nazr Mohammed on a high-low pass and protecting the rim.
He finished with 12 points in 25 minutes and was effective in every situation Chicago needed him to thrive in.
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Shane Battier saw three wide-open three-point attempts in his first four minutes but missed them all. He finished with six points and took seven three-pointers total.
Norris Cole offered fantastic on-ball pressure the length of the court and made life miserable for Nate Robinson numerous times. He also hit a floater as the first quarter buzzer sounded.
Chris Anderson was utterly useless in 16 minutes, playing his worst ball in a Heat uniform.
Daequan Cook and Marquis Teague combined for zero points in 10 minutes of play, but while the rookie point guard did a pretty good job handling the ball and making decisions in transition, Cook did just about nothing well.