MIMAI, FL (Sporting Alert) — After getting stunned in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semi-finals on Monday night by the Chicago Bulls, defending champion Miami Heat will be looking to even up the series with a win tonight.
A rusty Heat team was beaten 93-86 by a more determined Chicago side, which played without several key players who were out injured.
Miami swept the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round and had a long break before the start of the second round, something the pundits felt contributed to their below par performance on Monday night.
Defeat had many believing the Bulls have gained a massive upper hand in the series, but the Miami players aren’t too worried.
“We haven’t lost in a while, so it was very different to come in here and deal with a loss and to deal with it in the playoffs at home,” said Heat guard Dwyane Wade.
“It was different from the standpoint of what we’ve been used to lately, but not anything different from what we’ve been used to as a team.
“We’ve been in tough moments. We’ve lost games before.”
Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls will go into Game 2 with the same line-up as Game 1, as All-Star forward Luol Deng and guard Kirk Hinrich have both been ruled out.
Nate Robinson took over the game in the final minutes to finish with 27 points, while Jimmy Butler added 21 points and a career-high-tying 14 rebounds in the win.
But there is no doubt that reigning MVP LeBron James and his Heat teammates will be ready for the challenges of Game 2 and Miami’s head coach Erik Spoelstra believes it will be a tough series.
“Playoffs are all about revealing who you are,” Spoelstra said. “It’s either a win or a loss, and so we lost the first game.
“We have to figure it out, somehow, some way, to win the next game. And that’s all it is.
”We have to fight for our playoff lives right now, to play a much harder and much more committed game together tomorrow night.”