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LeBron says he ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if he spent time guarding Nate Robinson

May 8, 2013, 1:36 PM EDT

LeBron James, Nate Robinson, Ken Mauer

After the Heat were stunned by the Bulls in Game 1 on Monday, the team seems to have come to the realization that it can’t afford even one more breakdown defensively, at least in terms of how they gameplan for their opponent for the rest of this series.

Chicago’s defensive intensity presents very real problems for Miami, as evidenced by the fact that the Bulls have won two of their last three meetings with the defending champs, and did so most recently with a wildly depleted roster.

What the Heat cannot allow, however, is for the Bulls to get going even a little bit offensively.

In Game 1, Chicago used a 24-10 run to close the last six and a half minutes of the game and secure the victory. Nate Robinson was particularly impressive in that final period, scoring 11 of his 27 points in the fourth, while dishing out six of his nine assists during that stretch.

All 11 of Robinson’s points in the fourth came during that crucial run that put the Heat away, so you might guess that Miami will be doing everything it can the rest of the series to make sure that the one offensive spark the Bulls have right now doesn’t get lit in time to blow the Heat up.

The solution might very well involve LeBron James guarding Robinson for some of the game’s key stretches.

From Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald:

Robinson found room to operate against the Heat late in the game, but it’s not like he wasn’t on the Heat’s scouting report. Allen emphasized putting pressure on Robinson before the series started, saying the Nets let Robinson “move all over the place.”

“The pick and rolls he came off, he was very free,” Ray Allen said a day before the second-round series began.

But it takes two levels of defenders to deny a player of Robinson’s quickness and strength of a clear path to the basket, so placing all of the blame on Allen and Chalmers would be inaccurate. The Heat’s frontcourt players share equal responsibility for picking up Robinson once he moves into the paint.

After Monday’s defensive debacle, LeBron James said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if he was “stuck” guarding Robinson late in games. “I’ll take the challenge on anyone,” James said.

The Bulls don’t have a ton of playmakers offensively right now, so putting James on Robinson isn’t likely to hurt the Heat somewhere else.

Jams will certainly provide more of a challenge for Robinson to deal with, but Miami’s team defense behind whoever guards Robinson needs to be sharp. Two of Robinson’s late assists in Game 1 found Marco Belinelli for open looks from three-point distance, which can be even more problematic than the havoc Robinson has been able to cause thus far.

  1. rodge1 - May 8, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    As much as I love having Ray Allen on the court, watching Nate blow by him was painful to watch.

    • parasolmonster - May 8, 2013 at 2:05 PM

      *watching Nate blow by him was beautiful to watch.

      LeBron being glued to Nate tonight could open up things for Marco a bit. Key for the Bulls are those late-game 3’s that they nailed last time to bring them back in the game.

  2. kb2408 - May 8, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Nate is too quick for him. And the way D.Wade shot the ball in the last game, Miami might need LeBron’s offense late in the game. By then he’ll be too tired from chasing Nate around. I see a repeat of the “Jason Terry experience”.

  3. fanofthegame79 - May 8, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    I’ll say it again. Heat take game 2 by 15 points. The series in 5-6 games.

    • chitownmatt - May 8, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      Yeah, even as a Bulls fan, I have to admit that you are probably right.

      But, thats exactly what makes it so much fun to watch if they lose.

      GO Bulls!

      • fanofthegame79 - May 8, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        I hear ya! Good luck to your team and enjoy the series! Just not too much good luck to beat my team!

  4. ccshocktalk - May 8, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Offense is good, defense is better. Game one should remind everyone that the saying, “Offense wins games, defense wins championships” is true, always has been and always will be.

    Solid defense makes up for turnovers and missed opportunities.

    The Bulls will need to literally will themselves to win 3 more games in this series. It will be a matter of hustle plays, being scrappy and doing whatever it takes to make things happen. Whether they score 40 points or 30 points or 100…so long as the defense doesn’t allow more than what the offense can provide, the Bulls will win this series.

    • parasolmonster - May 8, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      “…so long as the defense doesn’t allow more than what the offense can provide, the Bulls will win this series.”

      Ah ha! Makes sense.

      • ccshocktalk - May 8, 2013 at 4:00 PM

        It certainly makes sense to Chicago, but apparently Miami didn’t get the memo.

        If you couldn’t understand the statement, it eluded to the point that it doesn’t matter what the bulls offense does, or who guards who, it matters what their defense does. Nice to see your reasoning skills are so high.

    • azarkhan - May 8, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      “so long as the defense doesn’t allow more than what the offense can provide, the Bulls will win this series.”

      In other words, if the Bulls defense holds the Heat to less points then what the Bulls offense scores, the Bulls will win. Sounds obvious to me!

  5. 91devinhester23 - May 8, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    then we ride jimmy and marco until they switch

    the heat have so many defensive liabilities in their lineup we will force a bad matchup and exploit it

    hope the bulls run the fake fans out of the building even earlier this time

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