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Bloody and Battered Bulls Beat the Heat

Nate Robinson once again led the Chicago Bulls to victory, bloody mouth and all.

Nate Robinson once again led the Chicago Bulls to victory, bloody mouth and all.

The Chicago Bulls completed an upset victory over the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals opener Monday night, taking a close game 93-86.

The Bulls relied on backups and role-players to limit the Heat offense, outscoring their opponents 10-0 over the final 1:59, ultimately picking up the win and spoiling LeBron James’ MVP celebrations in the process.

Game 1 Recap

Banged-up, missing key players, and worn-down after an exhaustive Game 7 against the Nets, the Chicago Bulls traveled to Miami Monday night for what most expected to be a foregone conclusion; defeat.

Meanwhile, James – who was handed his fourth MVP trophy prior to the game – and the Heat were expected to take advantage of eight days of rest and make short work of the Bulls, in much the same way the team unceremoniously disposed of the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.

Unfortunately for the Heat, somebody forgot to give that script to the Bulls.

In what was a low-scoring affair, neither the Heat nor the Bulls were particularly efficient during the opening stanzas. The two teams entered the locker rooms at halftime with the score at 38-36 in favor of the Bulls. At the end of the third the scoreboard read an anemic 62-58 in favor of the Bulls. But as the team has proven all season, a low-scoring game is just what the doctor ordered for Chicago.

The doctor could have ordered so much more though. With Derrick Rose (knee) still sidelined, Kirk Hinrich (bruised left calf) missed a fourth straight game while Luol Deng (sickness) remains hospitalized following Friday’s ER trip and subsequent admission. Nate Robinson – who has become the team’s talisman this postseason – ended up crushed beneath James in the first half and was ushered back to the locker room where he received 10 stitches to his lip/mouth. Robinson returned to lead the Bulls to victory.

Robinson’s 27 points led all scorers, while Jimmy Butler – who has played 48 minutes in each of the last three games – added 21 points and 14 rebounds. Joakim Noah contributed with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

The Bulls outrebounded the Heat 46-32, and scored 17 points off nine offensive boards. Chicago outshot Miami from the field, from behind the arc, and from the free-throw line, which was enough to erase a 15-8 deficit in turnovers

James led the Heat with 24 points, despite tallying just two before the half. He also pulled down eight rebounds and handed out seven assists. However, the Heat was outscored by 15 points while he was on the floor, the second worst tally of his career.

Dwyane Wade added 14 points and three steals while Ray Allen and Chris Bosh scored nine points apiece.

Chicago used a 35-24 fourth quarter to take the game, outscoring the Heat 10-0 in the final 1:59 of the game.

LeBron James and Co. were heavily-favored but failed to cover the spread.

LeBron James and Co. were heavily-favored but failed to cover the spread.

Betting Results

The upset victory saw the Bulls cover the massive 13-point spread while the 179 combined points was under the opening total (188).

Chicago moves to 4-4-0 ATS during the postseason, including a 3-2-0 ATS record away from home. Miami slips to 3-2-0 ATS, with a 1-2-0 ATS record at American Airlines Arena.

The Bulls improve to 3-2-0 ATS when playing Miami this season. All three victories against the spread have been recorded in straight up wins as an underdog.

In the five meetings between the two sides this season, the over/under (2-3-0) has favored the under.

Chicago (5-3-0) has favored the over this postseason, a trend that is contradictory to the side’s regular season form. Meanwhile, Miami (0-4-1) has yet to see the total go over in a playoff game.

Miami Still Favored

Despite Monday night’s result, the Miami Heat continues to be a big favorite with bookies heading into Game 2 on Wednesday (7:00 pm ET).

The Heat once again opens as a 13-point favorite leading into the clash at American Airlines Arena. However, bettors are holding-off on taking the Heat to cover double-digits, which has seen that number drop to 12 with some bookies.

The total opens at 187.5, one-half point lower than Game 1’s 188.

Rusty in the opener, Miami will look to right the ship while Chicago will look to keep emotions in check and build on Monday night’s success.

According to Bovada, Miami remains the favorite to take the Eastern Conference championship (1/5) and the NBA title (10/21). Chicago is considered 14/1 to take the conference and 33/1 to be named NBA champions.



GAME 1: Chicago 93, Miami 86

GAME 2: Chicago at Miami (Wed, May 8, 7:00 pm ET)

GAME 3: Miami at Chicago (Fri, May 10, 8:00 pm ET)

GAME 4: Miami at Chicago (Mon, May 13, 7:00 pm ET)

GAME 5: Chicago at Miami (Wed, May 15, TBD)*

GAME 6: Miami at Chicago (Fri, May 16, TBD)*

GAME 7: Chicago at Miami (Sun, May 19, TBD)*

*If necessary

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