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LeBron’s cold start costs Heat vs. Bulls
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On May 7, 2013 @ 12:34 am In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — The MVP didn’t play like one for a half, and the team with the best record in the league was slowed by a team that is barely ambulatory and just finished a grueling seven-game series on Saturday.
The Chicago Bulls, with their grinding style led by coach Tom Thibodeau, pulled off a stunning 93-86 upset in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Nate Robinson’s 19-foot jumper with 1:18 gave the Bulls an 88-86 lead and his driving layup with 45.5 put the Bulls up 90-86.
LeBron James shot an airball with 29.8 seconds left.
The Bulls reduced the game to a possession by possession struggle, which is what they want. Which is the only way they can play – and win – with so many players out and hurt.
Chicago guard Nate Robinson (25 points, nine assists) and swingman Jimmy Butler (21 points, 14 rebounds) continued their strong play. Butler played all 48 minutes for the third consecutive game and made four-time MVP LeBron James work for every point and assist.
James, who received his 2012-13 MVP trophy from NBA Commissioner David Stern just before tipoff, scored just two points on 1-of-6 shooting in the first half.
He recovered in the second half, scoring 22 of his of team-high 24 points in second half. But it was not enough.
The Heat didn’t pick up where they when they eliminated the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4 on April 28.
The rest vs. rust debate – a topic for Heat during eight-day layoff – turned into a factor immediately. While the Heat wanted rest, they were anxious to play a game, and the time off in conjunction with the Bulls’ outstanding defense disrupted the Heat, especially on offense.
Miami shot 26.3% in the first quarter and 33.3% in the first half and was 3-of-13 on three-pointers in the first half, and James was 1-of-6 for just two points, a new playoff halftime low in points for the four-time MVP. Chris Bosh was 0-of-4, and Shane Battier and Mike Miller were 2-of-10 on three-pointers.
It was the kind of game the Bulls favor. Their masterful defense prevented the Heat from … [For more on LeBron James' cold start costs Heat Game 1 vs. Bulls, click here.]
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