WEST PALM BEACH, May 8, 2013 — Despite a loss in the series opener to the Chicago Bulls on Monday, the Miami Heat are poised for victory tonight at 7:00pm at American Airlines Arena in Miami.
Chicago played with passion and overcame the loss of stars Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich, who were out with illness and injury, stunning the top-ranked Heat, 93–86. Players like Jimmy Butler and crowd favorite 5’9” Nate Robinson stepped up to deliver the victory, working as a team.
Robinson scored 27 points, proving he is more than a novelty, and Butler delivered 21 points and tied his a career-high grabbing 14 rebounds.
Commentators note that the Bulls have sidelined the Heat before. In March, Chicago ended the Heat’s 27-game winning streak, and rumor had it Miami hoped to avoid playing Chicago in the Eastern Conference semifinal.
Chicago will play again tonight without its big stars, starting the same lineup that defeated the Heat on Monday. Some believe the Bulls could emerge victorious again, if they can keep the game a defensive battle and play with the same grit and passion that they displayed on Monday.
However, the reality is the Heat are ready for the Bulls tonight, and are likely, very likely, to win. The stunning loss almost certainly jolted the team back to reality. Expect LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to take the court ready to play.
Already, there is speculation of some changes in how the Heat will approach this game. James said he would not be a surprise if he guards Nate Robinson tonight, for example. The 6’8”, 250 pound James will have to hustle to keep up with the 5’9”, 180 pound Robinson, but he says, ” I’ll take the challenge on [defense].”
The Heat players were highly complementary of the Bulls in Game 1, singling out both Robinson and Butler, and giving praise to the team as a whole. They also noted their own deficiencies, which they pledged to correct.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, a defensive genius, noted that the team has to play even better than they did in Game 1. He said the team needs to be aggressive on both ends of the floor and has to play every minute of the game.
While the Bulls played an excellent game Monday, the fact is the Heat are the better team. They will come out tonight with intensity and strong individual and team play will win. They probably will win big.
Anything could happen, but chances are the Heat will win tonight. Expect that to continue, with the Heat wrapping up the series in five games.
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