Much like when Miami rolled into Chicago riding a 27-game winning streak back in March, there was no reason to believe the severely depleted Bulls stood a chance against the defending NBA Champs last night in Game 1.
As usual, these ever-resilient Bulls proved everyone wrong, and shockingly took the series opener. Behind Nate Robinson’s 27 points and 9 assists, Chicago pulled off the 93-86 stunner.
Per the Daily Herald:
Since Feb. 3, the Heat is 40-1 against the rest of the NBA, but 1-2 against the Bulls. Robinson led all scorers with 27 points and scored the Bulls’ final 7, hitting the go-ahead jumper from the top of the key with 1:18 remaining. After the game, he talked about the matchup with Allen.
“I looked up to Ray for the majority of my childhood,” said Robinson, a Seattle native. “He played for the Sonics. I started doing a lot of shooting drills with him. I was in Boston with him. I know Ray. But my main objective was just to attack. Coach always says, ‘Make the bigs do their job.’ If they come over and block it, they block it. I was going to be aggressive. I waved Jo off because I didn’t want them to switch on the pick and roll with LeBron (James). I was like, ‘No, go back and we’ll see what happens here.’ I ended up making the layup.”
Robinson’s teammates were inspired by the little fella’s gutsy play — Joakim Noah argued that Nate is the greatest 6-foot-and-under player in NBA history — but they realize they have a very long way to go against Miami.
The Heat, rusty after eight days of rest, played sluggishly for much of Game 1. They are expected, of course, to respond with a vengeance.
While no reasonable observer is prepared to give the Chicago Bulls a real chance to win this series, it’s clear that things are going to be much more competitive than anyone had anticipated.