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Heat begin title defense with opening night blowout win over Bulls

Oct 29, 2013, 11:17 PM EDT

LeBron James AP

The Bulls were one of the fashionable preseason picks to dethrone the Heat this season, considering the return of Derrick Rose, the way Chicago has historically defended under Tom Thibodeau, and the fact that Miami is trying to become the first team to reach the Finals in four straight seasons since the Celtics did it 27 years ago.

Chicago may very well round into form over the grind of the 82-game season and ultimately give the Heat some problems. But they are a long, long way away from that goal, and opening night in Miami showcased that fact.

While the Bulls struggled to find their rhythm offensively, the Heat’s team defense looked ready to defend the team’s back-to-back titles from the opening tip. Miami had no trouble in its first game of the season, and led by as many as 25 points before ending up with the 107-95 opening night victory.

The scary thing for the rest of the league after this one might be the fact that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh didn’t have dominant individual performances offensively. They finished with 17, 13, and 16 points respectively, and did so combining to shoot less than 50 percent from the floor.

Instead of the stars taking over under the national spotlight, it was the bench of the Heat that was the difference in this one. While the Bulls were forced to roll out rookie Tony Snell (who was brutal), Nazr Mohammed, Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson, and Mike Dunleavy, the Heat countered with veterans who were more than capable of producing. Miami’s bench outscored Chicago’s 42-26, and did so by shooting a much higher percentage.

Derrick Rose returned to his first regular season NBA action since suffering a torn ACL injury in the 2012 playoffs, and while he looked explosive early, he struggled against the swarming team defense of the Heat. Rose finished with 12 points, four assists, and five turnovers in 34 minutes of action, while getting the majority of his looks from outside. Rose ended up just 1-of-7 from three-point distance, and shot just 4-of-15 from the field overall.

What this game showed more than anything is that the Bulls have a journey ahead of them to get to a level where they can challenge an elite team like the Heat. Miami showed us that despite the long offseason, the fact that the majority of the championship roster returned intact makes it seem like they’re already several steps ahead of their would-be challengers.

  1. tampajoey - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    Too bad Derrick Rose didn’t show up. Maybe Rose needs another year off to get his head straight.

    • roachyxxx - Oct 30, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      Most badly fixed officiating I’ve ever seen in the NBA. Deng gets 3 fouls in 5 minutes? Yeah, right. I really felt bad for Steve Kerr for making some excuse about why Noah missed a dunk, and when they showed the replay you could see the Heat guy hanging on his arm for the whole attempt. Officials must have missed that. It’s a shame because if it wasn’t fixed this would have been a very close game.

  2. 1972wasalongtimeago - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    ‘Nother day at the office. Played well enough to win easily. That’s all that really matters. Bulls will be a better team in 6 months.

    And look who’s back! Tampajoey!!!! You see Those rings on LeBron’s fingers? Pretty sweet, no?

    • tampajoey - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:27 PM


      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:45 PM

        Eye of the beholder I guess. Good to see you’re back.

  3. pantsfreezone - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    Delusional Bulls fans with their preseason championship just saw how their playoffs will probably end.

    • antistratfordian - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:31 PM

      Rose was “vindicated” because they went 8-0 in the preseason, I was told. “Delusional Bulls fans” didn’t say that though, that was the Chicago Sun-Times.

      • pudgalvin - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:16 AM

        I would say last night vindicated his decision to not come back in the playoffs last year. If that’s what happened in a regular season game after a full training camp and preseason, imagine what would have happened in a playoff series.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 30, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        I see it differently, pud. If Rose would’ve come back last year he would’ve put this murky part behind him sooner, and the Bulls could’ve kicked this season off with better chemistry and more confidence.

  4. antistratfordian - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    Man, I’ve been saying this all preseason and my PBT brothers keep calling me a troll (I’ve been saying it for a few years now actually, so I’m not over-reacting off of one game): Chicago does not have the offense to seriously challenge Miami. They didn’t in 2011 and they still don’t in 2013.

    • detectivejimmymcnulty - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:43 PM

      I have to agree with you. Flipping Deng for some 3 and D players might be the best move.

    • casualcommenter - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:51 PM

      Yeah, as a neutral observer, the Heat playing lackadaisically after being up by 20 and turning over the ball with lazy passes in the second half was the only reason the Bulls were able to partially come back.

      Honestly, I thought the Bulls really could have used a guy like Nate Robinson to provide a spark with Rose looking out of sorts when confronted by the Heat’s speed on traps. Bulls don’t have enough guys to break down the Heat’s defense.

  5. jzone954 - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    D froze

  6. miamatt - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    If you’re a Heat fan, you have to love the defensive mindset they came out with. Miami played like they were the team with something to prove tonight.

    For the Bulls, the best thing about tonight is that Rose played in an actual NBA game, showed some explosiveness, and finished without injury. I suspect they will still have the same trouble they have had for several years- getting buckets wen they need them- but they will be one of the best teams in the league come April.

  7. dolphindubs - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    Norris Cole looked strong. He made D-Rose look like a rookie on a couple of moves. Keep up that progression young man!

  8. asimonetti88 - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    Hey I have a great idea! Let’s base our opinions on how the whole season will go after one game! It’s one game, maybe the Bulls can’t beat Miami, maybe they can, but we won’t know that until much later than October 29.

    • chicitybulls - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      Shhh, be quiet. Dont you know you’re being rational and that’s not allowed. You HAVE to base everything for the year on one game because things can’t possibly change and people can’t possibly improve.

      • asimonetti88 - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:38 AM

        I find it amusing I have more thumbs down than thumbs up. Clearly we should just forget about the rest of the season and name the Lakers, Pacers and Heat co-champions after last night.

      • chicitybulls - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        I wouldn’t sweat the thumbs up/down thing. My work computer doesn’t even show that (I think it’s a glitch). Anybody who would “thumb down” your comment is just being a troll anyway. You can’t logically have a dispute with what you said.

    • miamatt - Oct 30, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      I don’t think anybody is “thumbing down” your point. I think it is the sarcasm of your first two exclamatory statements that is “thumbed down”. And let’s be fair- that was meant to be a shot a Heat fans, no?

      Of course, once you get to it, your point is sound, and I do agree it is funny how some people overreact to every game. The NBA season is a marathon, and last night was the equivalent of Miami taking a small lead in the first 50 feet.

      Still can’t blame Heat fans for being psyched about their team coming out and kicking butt, and really, I don’t see any comments on this post to which your sarcasm applied.

      • asimonetti88 - Nov 5, 2013 at 12:17 PM

        No, it was meant to be a shot at the hyperbole on this post.

  9. casualcommenter - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Derrick Rose was outplayed by Mario Chalmers. Part of that is a credit to the Heat’s swarming defense, and part of that (no offense to Heat fans) probably is a sign that the whole, “Derrick Rose is back and better than ever – look at how he did in preseason!” meme needs to get shelved.

    Rose looked fast whenever he had open court in front of him, but he had a lot of difficulty dealing with the Heat’s traps and wasn’t sharp handling the ball or attempting passes. He’s physically back but skill-wise and rhythm wise, he has a ways to go. “Preseason-caliber” defense clearly didn’t prepare him for the Heat, and we’ll see how quickly he regains his form.

    As it stands – both teams looked like they could play defense at a high level, but only 1 team looked like they could score enough to win a 7 game series. Good win by the Heat.

  10. zoomy123 - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    Full disclosure: I’m a Miami Heat fan. With that being said, I honestly don’t see how the Bulls can challenge Miami come playoff time. The problem for the Bulls is that they can’t exploit Miami’s one true weakness: their frontline. Noah + Boozer do not pound the ball on the inside enough to really hit Miami where it hurts. Just compare Naoh + Boozer to Roy Hibbert + David West. The formula for beating Miami is: pound the ball on the inside (which SLOWS down the game) + offensive rebounding to create second chance points. The Bulls can’t afford to settle for 3’s and long jumpers like Rose and Deng did tonight.

    The second biggest problem is the Bulls’ defense. The Bulls love to load the strong side, and against teams that don’t have good chemistry and don’t move the ball this is very effective. However, this does not work against Miami. Miami as a team is committed to making the pass that becomes another pass that becomes an assist. Once that ball swings back to the weakside any number of people can hit that open 3: Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers, etc. This is why Miami had 16 assists on their first 19 buckets.

  11. beach305 - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:52 AM

    Agree, but I think there is a little ribbing going on here as Bulls fans were all giddy about going 8-0 in the preseason. Welcome back to planet earth.

    • nard100 - Oct 30, 2013 at 9:24 AM


    • nard100 - Oct 30, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      Bulls, you’ve come a long way, but you are not a Jedi yet!

  12. polkhigh4life - Oct 30, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    1 game and Rose is a bum and the Bulls are done…..I guess it’s gonna be the Lakers and Heat in the Finals…..with Meeks and Battier as All NBA 1st teamer’s…..Spolstra (no1 cares if his name is spelled right) COY……Rivers and Thibs to the D- League….and Greg Oden as cComeback Player of the Year, based off his performance tonight….idiots…dumb Miami fans who were Knicks, Lakers and Celtic fans 3 years ago….enjoy it cuz this is it for y’all… year it’s back to reality…..every1 but Lebron is gone…..a lil thing called the new CBA….Rose is still 25 fellas….and is 100%…..oh and good clever joke about taking another year off for his mind….very creative….about as creative as Spolstra’s coaching (Lebron go do everything)….and the rest of you throw shots and pray….

    • pantsfreezone - Oct 30, 2013 at 2:52 AM

      People who don’t give Spo credit for being a good coach and basketball mind identify themselves as stupid fans who know nothing about the sport.

      And, in case you didn’t notice tonight, they had 7 different guys in double figures with Ray Allen leading in assists and Birdman playing some outstanding defense.

    • doc305 - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      Lol….you mad bro? And don’t worry, nobody expected you to spell anything right.

  13. doctordunkenstein - Oct 30, 2013 at 2:32 AM

    BREAKING NEWS: Derrick Rose injured again, this time with a broken ankle courtesy of Norris Cole

  14. iowahbr - Oct 30, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    Big question: Will Rose paly on opening night?. Whoops as I guess he did and the Bulls still couldn’t shoot the ball into the Atlantic after the 8 minute mark. Will be the same no matter how many shoe adds get run.

  15. jbeagles23 - Oct 30, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    The bulls aren’t a real threat cause they’re strengths are the same strengths the heat have. However the heat are much better as using those strengths.

  16. golf4tee - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    The Lakers blew out the Clippers. I guess the Clippers are Done, huh?

  17. southbeachtalent - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    D-Rose had that “when’s LeBron retiring” look on his face.

  18. dezglobal - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    So many people want the bulls to be a great team just so LBJ and the heat lose lol kinda funny.

  19. asublimeday - Oct 30, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    …12 points is a blowout?

    • tauceti4425 - Oct 30, 2013 at 11:55 AM

      Did you see the game? “Da Bulls” were being toyed with!!

    • casualcommenter - Oct 30, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      If you watched the game, you could see it was a blowout.

      Bulls were down by roughly 30 at one point, spent most of the second half down by 20, then rallied late to get it within 8 before losing by 12.

      When a team is almost always down by 10+ points after the first quarter, they’ve been blown out.

  20. tauceti4425 - Oct 30, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Beatdown now, beatdown come playoff time.If the het get Greg oden healthy enough for 10min a game, game over!!!

  21. borderline1988 - Oct 30, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    I didn’t watch any of the Heat’s preseason games, so maybe I’m a bit late to the show, but man, Dwayne Wade looked as good as I’ve seen him in years.

    He was exploding to the rim at well. He missed some close-range shots and FTs, but he looks terrific.

    Wade is easily one of, if not the strongest guard in the league, and at that speed and explosiveness, he causes a lot of problems on both ends of the floor.

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