May 9, 2013
Heat answer Bulls with Game 2 blowout
By The Sports Xchange
MIAMI — After losing Game 1 in disappointing fashion, the Miami Heat made sure they would not drop Game 2.
Ray Allen scored 21 points, LeBron James added 19 and the Miami Heat beat the Chicago Bulls 115-78 Wednesday in an emotional Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The series is tied at a game apiece. Game 3 is Friday in Chicago.
“We came out with intensity, they did as well, and we just tried to keep our composure throughout everything that was going on that had nothing to do with basketball,” James said. “We played our game tonight. We attacked both offensively and defensively and (were) able to win a must-needed win, obviously.”
It was the largest margin of victory for the Heat in a playoff game and the largest defeat for Chicago.
Norris Cole scored 18 points and Dwyane Wade added 15 for Miami, which had six players score in double figures.
“Losing Game 1 at home was tough, and we had to go back and look at ourselves in the mirror and look at each other in the eye and say what is the reason we are here for,” Wade said. “We had to come out and play with better effort.”
Miami outscored Chicago 56-18 in the paint and 20-2 on fast-break points while shooting 60 percent (42 of 70) while holding the Bulls to 35.5 percent shooting (27 of 76).
“We were able to save this one, but we are still in the hole,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They got what they needed. They got one (win on the road). It doesn’t matter about the score tonight. We need to move on now and get ready to go into the lion’s den on Friday.”
Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson each were ejected in the fourth quarter after picking up their second technical fouls for Chicago, which had six of the game’s nine technical fouls.
“This hardly happens to me,” Gibson said. “It’s a sign of frustration. We just got blown out. You don’t want to get blown out. It’s playoff basketball, it’s frustrating.”
Bulls point guard Nate Robinson was held to 11 points after scoring 27 in Game 1. Marco Belinelli led Chicago with 13 points.
“I guess they’re the world champs for a reason, and they played like it tonight,” Robinson said, “and we just flat out sucked, so we have to go back home and be ready to play.”
Allen said, “We’ve played them six times this year, and each game has been more physical than the next. Game 1, we just didn’t match their intensity. I thought tonight it was a very physical game.”
After the Bulls cut the deficit to 42-38 in the second quarter, Miami took control of the game.
The Heat outscored the Bulls 33-9 over the next 12 minutes to extend their lead to 75-47 in the pivotal third quarter.
Following a foul by Marquis Teague on Allen with 10:13 left in the game, Noah walked onto the court to argue the call, resulting in his second technical foul. With Allen at the free-throw line, Gibson continued to protest, earning two technicals.
“I just wanted to let the referee know how I felt about the game,” Noah said, “but I guess I deserved to get kicked out. We didn’t play well, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s 1-1. It’s going to be a big Game 3 in Chicago.”
Miami led by as many as 46 points down the stretch.
“The live-ball turnovers really hurt us on the floor,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I thought the frustration level of maybe not getting calls on drives, now instead of sprinting back to get set, we are complaining to the officials and they are laying it in. You can’t do that.”
The Heat led 55-41 at halftime.
Wade picked up a technical foul just 21 seconds into the game when he threw the ball at Belinelli following a hard foul.
Despite the technical, the Heat got off to a better start than in Game 1, when they started 6-for-22 from the field.
An alley-oop from Wade to James followed by a 3-pointer by Mario Chalmers gave Miami a 17-15 lead. Then James stole a pass along the baseline and took the ball the length of the court for a monster left-handed dunk that brought the Heat faithful to their feet.
Jimmy Butler hit a 3-pointer to end the Heat run at 9-0, but Butler was no match defensively for James, who scored 12 points in the opening quarter, making all six of his shots.
James and Noah picked up a double technical for an altercation at the end of the first. On the ensuing inbounds play, Noah threw an errant pass, giving the ball back to the Heat, and James spun by him in the closing seconds to give the Heat a 25-20 lead after one.
The intensity continued in the second quarter during a frantic 17 seconds as Miami’s Chris Andersen was called for a flagrant foul on Belinelli. Moments later, Teague was whistled for a technical. Daequan Cook was lucky to escape further penalty when he wrapped up James on a layup attempt.
“We did a pretty good job of just staying the course under the circumstances,” James said.
Miami saw a 10-point lead cut to four, but a dunk by Wade stretched the lead to 49-38.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Cole put Miami up 55-41.
“We kept our composure,” Cole said. “It was all about basketball and winning this game, and we understand that. That’s what we did tonight. We kept our focus and won the game.”
NOTES: Andersen is shooting 16-for-20 (80 percent) from the floor in the postseason. ... Chicago’s previous largest playoff defeat was 26 points, which happened three times, with the last on May 5, 2007, against the Detroit Pistons. ... Chicago PG Kirk Hinrich (left calf) missed his fourth consecutive game and is considered day-to-day, and SF Luol Deng (illness) missed his third consecutive game. “He did a little bit (Tuesday) and he is still not feeling great,” Thibodeau said. ... Rapper Rick Ross was in attendance.