We have seen this before. An underdog team surprises the favorite in Game 1 and people start to over-analyze what this means for the rest of the series.
I am not taking anything away from the Chicago Bulls. They played with grit and heart. Nate Robinson alone could probably have beaten the Heat with his performance last night.
Still, we all know the NBA playoffs are not a one-game series.
The Bulls just finished playing a tough seven-game series against the Brooklyn Nets. If they lost Game 1 to the Heat, it would have been acceptable because they were tired and are not playing with a full roster.
However, Chicago was able to defeat the odds and steal the first game in Miami. Yes, the pressure is on for the Heat, but the only time they felt any pressure this year was during their almost record-breaking winning streak.
Miami breezed through the first round of the playoffs by sweeping the Milwaukee Bucks. The team had a long break between the two rounds, which might have caused it not to be in sync.
The Heat have done this before. They have lost the first game in a series and come back to win that round.
The most recent example was during the 2012 NBA Finals, when the Heat lost Game 1 to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Following that contest, the Heat won the next four to win the NBA Championship. In 2011, the Heat lost the first game to the Bulls in the Conference Finals and went on to win four straight advancing to the NBA Finals.
You can start to see the trend going on for the Heat.
In all fairness, though, the Bulls did split the regular-season series with the Heat at two victories apiece. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau knows how to create an outstanding defensive game plan for each team Chicago faces. He was able to guide Jimmy Butler to help contain LeBron James to only 24 points in Game 1.
Thibodeau spoke to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today about Butler’s performance:
"The thing about Jimmy, he's going to work the whole time. ... He's a tough kid," Thibodeau said. "He's mentally tough, and that's what we need him to do right now. We're shorthanded. We have a number of guys playing big minutes, and that's what we did."
The Miami Heat live off of points in transition. They love to run up and down the court scoring off of fast breaks or turnovers. The Bulls were able to stop the Heat from their fast-paced style of offense.
Not only does Chicago know this, but Miami as well. In Game 2, you will probably see the Heat looking to create more fast-break points.
LeBron knows that losing the game is not the end of the world. “This is what the playoffs are all about,” James told The Miami Herald's Joseph Goodman. “We’re going against a really good team, and we know that so we’ll prepare tomorrow and get ready for Game 2.”
Dwyane Wade shares James' sentiments (per Goodman): “Late in the game they beat us with their effort and that can’t happen.”
Game 2 will put more pressure on the Heat, but it is something that James, Wade and the rest of Miami team will be able to handle…at least that is what the past has taught us.
For the Bulls, they are looking to buck the trend and steal another game in Miami.
Personally, I can’t see James letting that happen—especially after losing a Game 1 which was prefaced by his MVP trophy ceremony. James will look to show the Bulls and the rest of the NBA why he won his fourth MVP title by putting Game 2 on his shoulders and evening up the series.
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