NBA: Nate Robinson fuels Chicago Bulls upset of Miami Heat
(Updated 10:10am) The Chicago Bulls shocked the Miami Heat, stealing game one of their Eastern Conference semifinals series, 93-86, Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) on the Heat's home court, thanks to the heroics of diminutive point guard Nate Robinson.
The two teams played each other to a 2-2 draw during the regular season, but that included the Bulls snapping the Heat's 27-game winning streak.
[Read the series preview of the Heat versus the Bulls]
In the playoffs, the fifth-ranked Bulls showed no fear of the league's overall number one seed, continuing to play their usual brand of physical play, despite being without point guard Kirk Hinrich (calf) and forward Luol Deng (ailment).
The Bulls' suffocating defense set the tone in the first quarter, as the visiting side held the defending champions to 15 points on 5-of-19 shooting. MVP LeBron James hold had two points on 1-of-3 shooting despite playing the entire period, and turned the ball over twice. Chicago on the other hand drew 10 of their 21 markers from Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah.
Miami punched back in the second. Though James was still quiet, missing all three of his field goal attempts, the Miami bench came through big time, with 16 points, led by five apiece from shooters Mike Miller and Ray Allen. Chicago stayed afloat thanks to second-chance points (9-1 in the period), but when the first half ended, the two sides were deadlocked at 37-all.
The two teams traded the lead thrice after the break, but two lay-ups from Dwyane Wade sandwiched a trey from Chris Bosh, to put the Heat up 55-49. Nate Robinson, who returned to the court after getting stitches in his lip, helped pull the Bulls to within a point twice, at 55-54, and 59-58, but James found Shane Battier for a triple to close the quarter, 62-58 in favor of Miami.
James came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring the first six points of the Heat, for a 68-64 score, 10:11 left in the game. Back-to-back and-one plays pushed Miami's advantage to 76-69, halfway through the period, but Marco Belinelli punctuated a 7-0 Bulls run with a triple, for a 76-all tie.
More scores by James kept the Heat afloat, with a split at the line making it 86-83 with 2:22 remaining. However, the Bulls closed out the game on a 10-0 run, with Nate Robinson scoring the final seven, to steal game one.
Nate Robinson led all scorers with 27 points on 8-of-16 shooting, and also dished out nine assists. Jimmy Butler played the entire game and produced 21 markers and 15 rebounds. Joakim Noah chipped in with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Taj Gibson and Marco Belinelli scored 12 and 10, respectively.
The Heat drew 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists from LeBron James, 15 markers in the final quarter. Dwyane Wade added 14 points, albeit on 16 attempts, while Ray Allen and Chris Bosh chimed in with nine each.
Chicago held the Heat to 39.7 percent shooting, while making 43.7 percent of their own attempts. They also out-rebounded the Heat 46-32, and survived turning the ball over seven more times than Miami. - AMD, GMA News