'They don't stop' — Heat just can't make Bulls go away

Unbelievable effort for the Bulls gives them 1-0 lead

LeBron James talks about preparing for Game 2

MIAMI —

That sound — oomph! — you heard — bam! — coming from — pow! — AmericanAirlines Arena on Monday night — thud! — wasn't just the calamitous sound of flying limbs and colliding body parts.

It was the unbelievable sound of Chicago not going away despite being given every reason to do so. It was the laboring sound of the Heat trying to stretch a lead, and failing; of trying to exert their championship game, and failing at that, too.

It ultimately was the unfathomable sound of this tired, undermanned and determined Chicago team scoring the final 10 points to win Game 1 of this playoff series, 93-86.

To win any playoff game in the Heat's home is a feat for most teams. But for Chicago to do it this way — missing three injured starters, coming off a Game 7 win just 48 hours earlier, rallying from behind most of the night — speaks of what the Heat face this series.

No surprise there, even if this outcome was. All day long, when the question was Chicago's fatigue and its roster's injuries, this remained the concern to the Heat, the No. 1 concern.

"They don't stop,'' said Heat forward LeBron James.

The Bulls didn't stop Monday. They kept coming without injured starters Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose. They kept coming no matter how often the Heat threatened to run away with the night.

A six-point lead in the third quarter? Chicago came back. A seven-point lead in the fourth quarter? Chicago came back from that, too.

LeBron scoring 15 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter? No matter.

"There's no excuses, no excuse at all, for time off or anything else,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said to begin his talk after the game. "We're up four going into the fourth quarter and, give them credit, they exploded for 35 points in the fourth quarter.

"That's not going to get it done in the playoffs."

Here's a snapshot of the game: LeBron making one of two free throws to put the Heat up, 86-83, with just over two minutes left. And, for the second time in the quarter, Chicago's Marco Belinelli sank a 3-point shot to tie the game.

Then Nate Robinson's jump shot put Chicago up with 1:18 to go. And that started the Bulls on a 10-0 run to close out the game that ended with Robinson at the foul line, sealing the night in surprise.

"Just one game,'' Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We're going to have to play a lot better in our next one."

Maybe that's how Chicago was able to pull off this win. Maybe that mindset explains why the Bulls don't stop.

You can put the necessary perspective on the night: It doesn't mean the Bulls win the series. It doesn't mean they're the better team. But that doesn't take anything away from what Chicago did.

If you like pretty-boy basketball, this isn't your series. But if you like back alleys, bare knuckles, steel cages, closed fists and maybe a good trickle of blood off the lip, this is for you.

The blood belonged to Robinson after getting a mouthful of LeBron when they dove to the floor after a loose basketball. He showed up at the postgame talk with an ice bag against his mouth.

"Got 10 stitches, but you've got to play through it,'' said Robinson, who finished with 27 points.

Blood? Stitches? That's how this series will play out. And the question is who survives. Four Bulls played at least 39 minutes Monday, led by Jimmy Butler, who now has played the last 150 minutes of the Bulls' playoffs.

Butler guarded LeBron for much of this game and finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds.

Everyone knows Chicago is a tough, spirited team. But tough and spirited only are supposed to take you so far in the NBA.

The Heat were the rested ones. But LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for 12 points in the first half — the lowest they've had in a half since coming together three years ago.

The Heat players talked of needing some time to shake the rust after more than a week off.

"It takes a while to get your second wind,'' LeBron said.

Who knew it would take to Game 2?

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