Heat Check: Miami drops Game 1 to Bulls



What happened: The Miami Heat were stunned 93-86 in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal against the Chicago Bulls on Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Heat (66-16) won 21 more games during the regular season than the Bulls (45-37). But it didn’t matter as Chicago guard Nate Robinson scored 27 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, to key the upset.
Heat star LeBron James scored a team-high 24 points. But he had just two in a sluggish first half in which the score was tied 37-37. Heat guard Dwyane Wade, coming back after missing Miami’s previous game due to a sore knee, scored 14 points and was the only other Miami player in double figures.
The Heat often looked rusty after having seven days off before Monday’s game. They last had played April 28, when they wrapped up a 4-0 first-round sweep of Milwaukee.
The turning point: The Bulls had more energy in the fourth quarter. That might seem strange since they had played Saturday night, when they beat Brooklyn in Game 7 of an East first-round series while the Heat hadn’t played since April 28.
Nevertheless, the Bulls outscored the Heat by a whopping 35-24 in the fourth quarter. Chicago forward Jimmy Butler also had 11 points during the quarter. Butler played all 48 minutes for the third straight game.
The difference maker: Robinson made Bulls fans forget about guard Derrick Rose being out due to the knee injury that has sidelined him all season.
Robinson took over down the stretch. He finished the night 8-of-16 from the field for his 27 points in addition to handing out nine assists.
What it means: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra likes to say a playoff series doesn’t start until a road team wins. Well, this series has started.
What’s next: Game 2 of the series is at 7 p.m. EDT Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson.