The bad taste of Game 1 -- and make no mistake, a 21-point defeat is one bad taste -- can all be erased with a Miami Heat win in Game 2 on Wednesday, as the Chicago Bulls host their challengers with a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bulls took a 103-82 win on Sunday in Game 1, completely dominating in the second half.
LeBron James struggled in his matchup with Luol Deng; James scored 15 points on 5-15 shooting, and only managed to draw four free throws as Deng and the Bulls' interior help defenders forced LeBron into jump shots and difficult attempts closer to the rim. Without LeBron's offense, Miami couldn't capitalize on a surprisingly strong effort from Chris Bosh (30 points on 12-18 shooting). Dwyane Wade also struggled to draw fouls (four free throws, 17 field goal attempts).
But Miami's defense was a problem, too. Chicago scored 103 points in 83 possessions -- an offensive efficiency of 124, way, way too high. Derrick Rose and Deng went nuts from beyond the arc (7-13 combined), and that should perhaps cool off, but Chicago also drew more fouls than Miami (untenable for the Heat) and got assists on 23 of 38 made field goals. Chicago was able to get into rhythm, and that just burned the Heat.
James getting back on track is the biggest step back on the path to Heat success, though. It should be quite a battle between he and Deng. Game 2 begins at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.