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LeBron says he’s ‘not stunned’ by Game 1 loss to Bulls

May 7, 2013, 1:01 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game One Getty Images

When we previewed the series between the Heat and the Bulls, we had the Rest or Rust question as one of our keys to watch. We also were as dismissive of it as possible, considering just how dominant Miami had been over the last three months, winning 41 times in 43 games.

Well, after dropping Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Monday, the Heat have now lost just three times in their last 44 games, but two of those losses have come at the hands of the Bulls.

Still, considering the cohesiveness of this Heat team, as well as the fact that Chicago was missing two of its key starters in Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng, the loss to the Bulls was downright shocking to just about everyone who pays even the smallest bit of attention — everyone, that is, except for LeBron James.

“I’m not stunned,” James said afterward, via the Associated Press. “This is what the playoffs is all about. We’re going against a really good team.” Miami was outscored 35-24 in the fourth, something that drew the ire of Heat coach Erik Spoelstra afterward. “There’s no excuses,” said Spoelstra, whose team had not played in more than a week. “We’re not making any excuses for time off or anything else.”

The rust turned out to be real to start the game, with Miami going just 5-of-19 from the field for 15 first quarter points, including making just one of its seven attempts from three-point distance.

But by the fourth quarter, the Heat seemed to have found their way, and were out to a lead of seven points with six and a half minutes remaining. From that point on, the Bulls closed the game on a 24-10 run to take the victory, and absolutely no one saw that coming.

If James truly isn’t stunned by those late game turn of events, he might be the only one who feels that way.

  1. eventhorizon04 - May 7, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    As the Celtics have proven the past few years (including this year), even a team with a bad offense is competitive in the playoffs if they play elite defense. The Bulls (and Celtics) played great defense in the regular season and first round, so it was clear that the Bulls were certainly capable of winning a game or two. Most people I know picked the Heat to win in 5 or 6, and said that the well-coached Bulls were far less likely to get swept than the Nets (who suffered in large part due to poor coaching).

    By contrast, while the Heat had won a lot of games, they had played poor basketball against the Bucks. They got away with it against the Bucks because in the end, the talent gap was too much, but the Heat in round 1 missed wide-open shots, committed turnovers, didn’t show enough commitment to make multiple efforts on defensive possessions, etc. That’s why those games were usually competitive deep into the third quarter.

    The difference is that the Bulls aren’t going to give up just because the Heat go on a big run to gain the lead in the second half. The Heat regained the lead by pressuring ball-handlers and making multiple passes on offense. After the Heat regained the lead, the Heat began hanging back and getting lazy on offense (one pass, or no passes, before shooting). Sure enough, the Bulls stuck with it, kept playing great defense, and steadily scored enough points to whittle away the lead. Then once the game was tied, Nate Robinson hit a couple of big shots, while Wade and LeBron each missed a hero-ball jumper, and the Bulls upset the Heat.

    So I wasn’t stunned. And frankly, I think most people who agreed the Bulls were a tougher matchup against the Heat than the Nets would have been also assumed the Bulls would steal a game or two from the Heat.

    Now, if this series goes to 7 games, I’ll be stunned. And if the Bulls win this series, it will be the greatest playoff upset since the Memphis Grizzlies beat the San Antonio Spurs in round 1 a couple of years ago.

  2. siggtacular - May 7, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    All hail the King

  3. andrewproughcfe - May 7, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Lebron should not be surprised. If he only takes two shots in the final six minutes, both of which were jump shots that he missed, then the Heat are likely to lose.

    Did the Bulls’ physical play scare him again?

  4. ch8878 - May 7, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Looks like Lebron’s time in Miami is coming to an end, he’ll either be back in Cleveland or go to Dallas.

  5. gotampabay52 - May 7, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Put down your pizza or hotdogs you lucky in game one Hate to be a bulls fan cause ass whoopin is about to occur then you all will say oh we didnt have three guys Go Heat

    • scalfor3 - May 7, 2013 at 4:55 PM

      Punctuation exists, man. Use it.

  6. miamatt - May 7, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Sheesh, overreaction central ’round here.

    Why should he be stunned? It may have been unexpected, but this is why the NBA championship is decided by multiple 7 game series. The Bulls played great but Miami will wear Chicago down in time.

    • fanofthegame79 - May 7, 2013 at 2:10 PM

      The Heat will still take this series in 6 games. Most people thought it would be 5 games…but this Bulls team is solid and scrappy.

  7. stoutfiles - May 7, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    It’d be great if the Heat lost, but I can’t see them losing 4 games to anyone. The team is ridiculously stacked to the point of unfairness to the rest of the league.

  8. kb2408 - May 7, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    “Ridiculously stacked”? One great player, one former great player who’s beginning to decline, one good player and 9 role players do not equal “stacked”. From 1-12 there are several teams more talented than the Heat. The biggest difference is the Heat has the best player overall.

    • cheeneybop - May 7, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      On the decline? DECLINE?! Dwyane Wade is by far NOT on the decline, are you kidding me? Look at the stats before you make that assumption. I’m sorry but for shooting 62% he is only doing just a good as Wade always plays. He has injuries, but that doesn’t make him declining. Sit down.

      • melkipershero - May 7, 2013 at 5:39 PM

        Wade isnt what he used to be but better than most SGs. Funny how he scores 0 in the 4th but somehow its Lebron who choked.

  9. patfic15 - May 7, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Stunned? I guess not. Bulls are a team in every sense of the word. They wanted it more than the divas of South Beach who were too busy complaining about touching to get back on D.

  10. waynegretsky77 - May 7, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    why would he be. he won a popularity mvp award. mvp dont mean crap unless u think nash ios better than kobe cause he has more. Stop with the rust excuse! The Bulls didn’t even have a fully healthy team tonight, so both teams were even. The Bulls just outplayed the Heat, plain and simple. Will they win the series? I’m still saying Heat in 6. If the Bulls somehow steal Game 2, then they have a great chance.They sure did, you don’t see the Spurs falling back on an 8 game break excuse. They started slow but they recovered and were able to pull it out in double OT.

    Miami has no excuse for losing to a Bulls team as depleted as this.

  11. iowahbr - May 7, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    I am not a LeBron fan but give the guy his dues. His game has gone to a much higher level in all aspects over the last 3 years and he made no excuses for last nite. It is a 7 game series and as a Bulls fan I know the next game will not be like last night no matter who plays for the Bulls. Let’s jusat enjoy some really good b-ball for the next few nites and stop throwing stones at players.

  12. cornbreadbbqred - May 7, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    History in the playoffs has demonstrated time and time again that teams who sweep series and sit around waiting and practicing, have trouble in the early going of series with teams who arrive at the first few games battle tested after long contentious series. We saw that in the Golden State-San Antonio game as well, only the Spurs managed to pull it out. You will probably not see seamless execution from either Heat or Spurs until 3 games into the their series. Hopefully for their fans, by then it will not be too late!

  13. 13arod - May 7, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    just because miami lost doesn’t mean they they will lose the sereis people lebron needs to have more plays for himself

  14. bigmonday23 - May 7, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    Labron should be surprised. There’s know reason should have to the crippled Bulls!!!!!!

  15. 1972wasalongtimeago - May 7, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    I think I can summarize all of this best by saying:

    Blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah
    Blah blah blah

    There. No truer words will be said about this subject than those.

  16. melkipershero - May 7, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Its sad when all you do is sit around and hope Lebron loses so you can post on the internet. People need to check their priorities. Gretzky if you think Lebron won a “popularity” contest look around. People hate Lebron. If it was a popularity contest Durant would been the 2 time defending MVP.

    Also Bulls fans are great. They understand its one game with 6 more possibly left. Most of the horrible posts are Lakers, wait, Kobe fans who hate to see Kobe is no longer the best.

  17. kb2408 - May 7, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    @cbop, injuries are a part of why his skills are declining. Wade is in his thirties, he’s certainly not getting better. But If you choose to believe his game is not on the decline that’s your choice.

    • cheeneybop - May 7, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      He isn’t as good as when he was back in 06 but he is definitely playing at a high level. If he has knee, hip, head, injuries and still shoots great and scores highly, then he definitely deserves credit. People assume he is declining just because he doesn’t shoot as much as Lebron or plays as many minutes, wade would have way more points if Lebron wasn’t shooting too. Now Wade is racking assists like crazy.

  18. ccshocktalk - May 7, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Bulls fans weren’t shocked that’s for sure.

  19. jollyjoker2 - May 7, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    This is a ref – throw the public – miami is in trouble bone. I watched enough NBA to know that previous winners don’t lose in the second round and lebron is a draw. It might be close this next game, but I guarantee miami will win it and there will be horrendous officiating against chicago.
    Seen it a gazzilion times. Thats why I don’t watch this as much as I used to.

    • melkipershero - May 7, 2013 at 7:13 PM

      You are probably right. The NBA wont let Miami lose. Thatd be bad business.

      • jollyjoker2 - May 7, 2013 at 9:34 PM

        Maimi could still lose but they will get every call next game. Every last one. If its close, they will get the michael jordon foul. You never, I mean never see a team go down 0-2 with a king on your bench no matter how well the other team plays. Lebron will probably get a dozen calls just bulldozing the shoulder into someone on the way to the rim… ….Also, I think the pacers will give miami a better run than chicago if they can keep shooting well. Lebron is a cream puff against hard defense pushing him to the outside; you take fouls early and beat him down. Ala Bill Lambier to the eyes.

      • melkipershero - May 7, 2013 at 9:55 PM

        Not sure if hes a creampuff but he does seem to get frustrated as hell. It wont matter unless the Heat can hit 3’s. lebron was the only one who showed up but he really wasnt at his typical level.

        How dare you speak the truth about MJ like that. Its funny to me people dont get MJ got calls like no other. Look at his game winner vs. Cleveland (I think), obvious push off. All good though he earned the right to get bs calls and no calls.

    • CP - May 8, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      Give a break with the conspiracy crap that you nuts never prove. Here is just one example to refute your claim, Miami won the title in 05-06. and got swept in the first round the very next year 06-07. I have been watching the NBA 40 years.

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