Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat (-12, 187)
Chicago leads series 1-0.
The Chicago Bulls notched a stunning victory in the opener and the Miami Heat seek to bounce back and even the Eastern Conference semifinal series when the teams meet in Wednesday’s Game 2 in South Beach. Chicago scored the final 10 points to close out a 93-86 victory in Game 1 despite again being without starters Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich. Miami was certainly rusty due to a long layoff from sweeping Milwaukee in the first round.
The Heat were out-of-synch much of the game and their defense was horrid in the final quarter when the Bulls scored 35 points. The loss was just the third in the last 44 games for Miami. “We haven’t lost in a while, so it was very different to come in and deal with a loss and to deal with it in the playoffs at home,” guard Dwyane Wade said on Tuesday. “It was different from the standpoint of what we’ve been used to lately, but not anything different from what we’ve been used to as a team.” Chicago will likely be without Deng (illness) for the fourth straight game, and Hinrich (calf) is in jeopardy of missing his fifth in a row. The Bulls now go for an unlikely 2-0 lead. “We’ve been getting some big victories the last couple games, but we’re not satisfied,” Chicago center Joakim Noah said. “We’re going to stay hungry, make our adjustments and try to play even better.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT THE BULLS: Noah had 13 points and 11 rebounds in the opener for his third straight double-double and fourth in five games. He was plagued by a foot injury late in the regular season and for most of the first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets but has appeared very spry over the last few games. His stellar Game 1 effort helped Chicago post a 46-32 advantage on the boards. “The team that wins the rebounding battle has a big advantage,” Noah said. “If you look at the numbers the last 10 to 15 times we’ve played the Heat, the team that wins the rebounding battle usually comes out with a ‘W.’” Small forward Jimmy Butler had 21 points and 14 rebounds while playing all 48 minutes for the third straight game.
ABOUT THE HEAT: MVP LeBron James with 24 points and Wade (14) were the only Miami players to reach double digits in the opener. James had just two first-half points before exploding for 22 in the second while Wade wasn’t at his best as he continues to deal with a bruised right knee. Center Chris Bosh had just nine points and hasn’t scored more than 16 in the postseason. Miami shot just 39.7 percent from the field and doesn’t expect a second straight subpar shooting performance. “It’s about will and determination to win the series, for both teams,” James said. “We want our shooters to shoot and they will continue to shoot because we will continue to find them. We’ve got the utmost confidence in them.”
* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings in Miami.
* Under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings.
* Heat are 9-15 ATS as double-digit favorites this season.
* Heat are 6-0 ATS in their last six games following a loss.
1. Chicago PG Nate Robinson had 27 points and nine assists and hit the go-ahead jumper with 1:18 left in Game 1.
2. F Udonis Haslem (four points, three rebounds in 18 minutes) and G Mario Chalmers (five points on 1-of-5 shooting) had poor Game 1 showings for Miami.
3. The Bulls haven’t won three straight road games since mid-January. Chicago won the first-round finale in Brooklyn before winning Game 1 in Miami.
Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs (-7.5, 204.5)
San Antonio leads series 1-0.
The Golden State Warriors have developed a disturbing habit of letting big leads slip away in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. The San Antonio Spurs will try to avoid that big fourth-quarter hole and grab a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals when they host the Warriors on Wednesday. Golden State led by 16 points with under four minutes left in Game 1 only to have the Spurs storm back and eventually win in double overtime.
Manu Ginobili played both the hero and the goat in Game 1 after his ill-advised 3-pointer late in the second overtime led to a layup before Golden State took the lead with 3.9 seconds left. Ginobili made up for that gaffe by draining the game-winning 3-pointer two possessions later. Warriors star Stephen Curry piled up 44 points and 11 assists but fell off in the final minutes and overtime while playing all but four seconds of the 58-minute contest. Golden State has lost 30 games in a row in San Antonio and had everything lining up when Tim Duncan went to the bench with an illness late in the fourth quarter before the Spurs came alive.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT THE WARRIORS: Curry scored 22 points in the third quarter and Golden State led by as many as 18 points late in that period. Curry brought out his entire bag of tricks in Game 1 with 3-pointers, floaters in the lane, slashes to the basket and no-look passes with both hands. In the end its was not enough, as the Spurs changed the defensive assignment on Curry to Kawhi Leonard, and even had wide-bodied center Boris Diaw blocking his drives in overtime. The key to the game might have been Klay Thompson, who scored 19 points and played tough defense on San Antonio point guard Tony Parker before fouling out as the Spurs began their late run in the fourth. The Warriors nearly squandered a big lead in the fourth quarter of Game 6 against the Denver Nuggets in the first round before pulling it out. A slew of turnovers and a general lack of offensive execution was the problem both times. “You’ve got to address it,” Curry said. “That should be a guaranteed win if you take care of what you need to take care of. At some point it’s something we’re doing wrong that allows them that momentum and the opportunity to make it a game.”
ABOUT THE SPURS: Ginobili struggled to 5-of-20 from the field in Game 1 but came through when it mattered with a 3-pointer from the right wing off an inbounds pass with 1.2 seconds left. Parker started the rally in the fourth quarter with six straight points as San Antonio closed the frame with an 18-2 burst. Duncan heading to the bench late in the fourth forced the Spurs to go to a smaller lineup with Diaw in the middle, and the big man knocked down a couple of key shots from the perimeter in the final minutes. Duncan collected 19 points and 11 boards but went to the locker room when the Spurs were down big. He returned to the bench for overtime but only entered the game for defensive purposes in the final seconds of each overtime. “From the fourth quarter on we looked like a team that realized we were in the playoffs and it was going to be physical,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich told reporters. “We looked like we were looking for answers, I thought. In the end we finally woke up.”
* Warriors are 4-1-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
* Favorite is 18-6-2 ATS in the last 26 meetings.
* Warriors are 5-14 ATS in the last 19 meetings in San Antonio.
* Spurs are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games.
1. Dominique Wilkins led the Spurs with 22 points off the bench the last time San Antonio lost at home to the Warriors, Feb. 14, 1997.
2. The three previous teams to blow a 16-point fourth-quarter lead in a playoff game over the last 15 seasons all went on to win the next game.
3. Golden State struggled to 14-for-24 from the free-throw line in Game 1.