How in the world are the Bulls doing this? Somehow they managed to drag themselves past the first round and into a series against hated Miami. All this while Joakim Noah can barely walk. And Nate Robinson was puking his guts out against Brooklyn. And Luol Deng is dealing with who knows what illness.
If nothing else, the Bulls should be commended for their fortitude. Here's a look at Monday's Game 1 according to what we found painful, sickening and, ultimately, soothing.
Sickening: LeBron James accepts the NBA MVP award before the game. Sure, he was gracious and credited his teammates, but it reminds Chicago fans that their own MVP is sidelined.
Soothing: Bulls win the opening tip! Hopefully it's not all downhill from here.
Soothing: Joakim Noah throws one high off the glass to make it 8-2 Bulls. Meanwhile, the Heat start 0-for-7 from the field. Nice
Painful: Miami finally makes its first field goal, almost six minutes in. Things had looked so promising.
Painful: Noah gets his dunk attempt blocked by Chris Bosh. Doubt that would happen if Noah were 100 percent.
Painful: James gets his first bucket, a dunk that cuts the Bulls' lead to 10-8. Why does it look like he's not even trying?
Soothing: Nate Robinson whirls through the lane and banks home a shot in the lane, giving the Bulls an eight-point lead with less than six seconds remaining in the quarter. You go, Nate!
Painful: Norris Cole—yes, Norris Cole—hits a running jumper at the buzzer to cut the Bulls' lead to 21-15.
Score: Bulls 21, Heat 15
Sickening: A "Grown Ups 2" commercial comes on. We advise avoiding it.
Sickening: Little-used Daequan Cook steps out of bounds for no reason—for the second time in the quarter. Um, the sideline doesn't move, Daequan.
Painful: Dwyane Wade hits a long jumper over Noah to give the Heat their first lead, 25-23. Please tell us the Bulls have an answer.
Soothing: Jimmy Butler hits a 3-pointer to put Bulls up 30-28. Ah, so it's not over yet.
Sickening: Nate Robinson is taken to the Bulls' locker room because he's bleeding after a collision with James. If this were hockey, James would serve a four-minute penalty. If only.
Painful: On consecutive possessions, Carlos Boozer gets rejected when it looked like he had a layup. SO DUNK THE BALL!
Soothing: Marquis Teague feeds Noah in the lane for an easy layup, and it's tied at 37 at halftime. So really, the Bulls just have to win one half.
Score: Bulls 37, Heat 37
Soothing: Nate Robinson is back on the floor to start the second half … and nails a 3 on the Bulls' first possession.
Painful: James answers with a 3 of his own. Don't get him started.
Soothing: Noah takes it coast to coast for a layup, putting the Bulls up 47-46. Fear the foot!
Painful: Bosh swats away a Robinson layup attempt on one end, and Wade scores on the other end to put the Heat up 50-49. Danger zone, Bulls …
Soothing: Robinson, who had 13 points in the quarter drains a 3-pointer from WAY downtown to pull the Bulls within 59-58 …
Painful: … But then Shane Battier answers with a 3 of his own, and the Heat lead by four again.
Score: Heat 62, Bulls 58
Sickening: Marco Belinelli bats away a Heat pass. That's good. It goes right to James who dunks it and is fouled. That's not good. And extremely unlucky. 68-64 Heat.
Soothing: Butler gets a reverse layup to drop, and he's hacked in the process. Bulls down just 70-69.
Painful: Butler practically tackles James on a fast break, but the Heat superstar converts a three-point play anyway. THEN he does the same thing on the next possession. Ouch. Heat up 76-69.
Soothing: Belinelli nails a 3, knotting it at 76 with less than five minutes left.
Painful: Derrick Rose is up off the bench, trying to will his team to victory after Butler's 3 puts the Bulls up 81-80. Sure you don't wanna play, Derrick?
Soothing: Noah gets an offensive rebound, and Belinelli ties it at 86 with a 3-pointer.
Soothing: Robinson. Jumper. Bulls up two. Is this really happening?!
Soothing: Robinson. Drive. Layup. Bulls up four. Less than a minute to play. We repeat: Is this really happening?!?!
Soothing: Aaaaaand the Heat throw in the towel after James misses a long 3-pointer. Bulls lead the series, 1-0. Wow. We repeat: Wow.
Final score: Bulls 93, Heat 86
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