NBA Playoffs 2013, Bulls vs. Heat: Nate Robinson, Chicago shock Miami 93-86


Nate Robinson - NATE ROBINSON!!! - scored the final seven points, as the Chicago Bulls went up 1-0 despite being short multiple starters against the defending NBA champions.

LeBron James won the MVP, but Nate Robinson got the win, as the undermanned Chicago Bulls shocked the basketball world by beating the Miami Heat 93-86.

Robinson scored the game's final seven straight points to turn a tie game into a Bulls win. First, he would shake Mario Chalmers and hit a pull-up with about a minute left. With Ray Allen on him the next time down, he'd wave away his teammates and take Allen to the left off the dribble to finish with a scoop at the basket. Free throws would ice it, and the shorthanded Bulls - missing Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, and, yes, before you mention it, Derrick Rose - are up 1-0 on a Miami Heat team everybody expects to win the NBA title.

It looked like James would throw up a dud after recording just two points on 1-for-6 shooting in the first half. James was flustered by a Tom Thibodeau defense designed to stop him, as the best player in the NBA was slowed considerably.

James wouldn't be denied in the second, though, with 22 points on just nine shots in the second half, including some of the highlight reel action that make him the world's best player. But it wasn't enough: only Dwyane Wade amongst his teammates hit double digits. On the other sideline, Robinson had 27 points and nine assists, Jimmy Butler had 21 points and 14 boards while guarding James well for most of the first half, and the Bulls absolutely dominated the glass, outrebounding Miami 42-32.

Here's Robinson:


And here's LeBron trying to answer back:


The first half looked sort of like a college game, and not just because it was a 37-37 slopfest defined with missed open looks. The Bulls played the part of the overmatched squad, resorting to gimmickry and luck to stay tight, and the Heat were the world-beaters trying to avoid the upset.

The Bulls were playing a zone-ish set meant to limit James' ability to score off the dribble. Jimmy Butler was guarding him while the rest of the team played with half of their attention on their assignment and the other half on their man. The Heat spent periods in a full-court press, aimed at forcing Chicago's little-used reserve guards into turnovers. Plus, Marquis Teague and Daequan Cook were playing, which is the thing that probably made this seem the most like a college game.

The Heat were out of it early, scoring just 15 points in the first period - their lowest in any first quarter since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined the team three seasons ago. The Bulls did get James to pass, and when he did, it didn't work out the way Miami wanted it to. Shane Battier was leading the team in shots after one quarter, shooting just 1-for-6, and a 7-2 run by the Bulls to end the quarter made the score 21-15 after one.

In the second, the Heat bounced back with their full-court press, goading Teague and Cook into poor decisions, as each had short, counterproductive stints. Soon, the game was tied at 23, and a 7-0 run after LeBron James' re-entry had Miami up 35-30. But Joakim Noah would score four points in short succession, and the game would enter the half knotted at 37.

The Heat traded 7-0 runs in the early going in the second half, with the scoring onus finally spread between all of the team's hyper-talented players - James would score seven points in the period, Chris Bosh would hit a big corner three, Dwyane Wade continued scoring - but Nate Robinson had three threes to finish with 13 points in the period, because nothing in the world makes sense anymore. The Heat entered the final period up 62-58.

The Bulls kept playing above their heads with three and-ones in successively ridiculous fashion in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. But LeBron was LeBron, connecting on four of his first five attempts in the period. He had a pretty up-and-under, a thunderous slam past Noah, and worked two straight and-ones on Butler, including one where Butler used all his 220 pounds to try to intentionally prevent James from putting up a shot. That got Miami up seven.

But four straight free throws and a Marco Belinelli three would see Chicago tie it up. The teams would trade baskets and, down 86-83, Belinelli would miss a three but Joakim Noah corralled the offensive board. Two passes later and Belinelli drilled an open look. Then it was Robinson's turn to shine, as mentioned previously, and now the game's over. Upset complete.

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