The Chicago Bulls melted down in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Miami Heat on Wednesday, May 8, and the result was historic.
Miami’s 115-78 win was the most lopsided postseason win in Heat franchise history, topping a 99-64 victory over the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of a first-round series on April 24, 1997.
It was also the most lopsided playoff loss ever for the Bulls. Three times previously, Chicago had lost by 26 points in the playoffs—April 1, 1971, to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals; May 21, 1992, to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals; and May 5, 2007, to the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The story Tuesday night was twofold. Miami came out with a newfound resolve after an embarrassing home-court loss in Game 1 to a severely short-handed team.
Chicago banged with the Heat for awhile in Game 2, but ultimately lost their composure in a game that featured 60 free-throw attempts, 51 fouls, nine technical fouls, one flagrant foul and two ejections—Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson of the Bulls each were tossed after receiving a second technical.
LeBron James was fully engaged, scoring 10 of his 19 points in the first quarter on 5-for-5 shooting.
James and Dwyane Wade had it working Wednesday night:
Significantly, all five of James’ early buckets were in the paint on a night when Miami hung 56 points in the paint on the Bulls to just 18 for Chicago and out-rebounded the Bulls 41-28.
Those numbers were significantly different in the Bulls’ 93-86 win in Game 1. Chicago had a 40-32 scoring advantage in the painted area and hammered the Heat on the glass by a 46-32 margin.
“When two physical teams play that really want the game, you’ll feel elbows, knees, everything,” Chris Bosh told ESPN.com. “That’s what the playoffs are. We didn’t do a good enough job in Game 1 of preparing like we needed to and we didn’t play like we needed. I think [Wednesday night] we did a much better job. And we better keep that edge.”
For their part, the Bulls knew they sort of lost control in Game 2.
“We lost composure as a team,” Gibson said. “Things weren’t going out way. You’re going to get frustrated, especially when you’re getting blown out. I was just trying to talk to [referee Scott Foster] and get his insight on the play and it kind of went the other way. I lost my cool.”
But perhaps no one summed up what happened Wednesday night in Miami quite as well as this Twitter user:
So basically, the Miami Heat are actually collectively the Incredible Hulk. “Don’t make me angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry.” #nba
— Chris Martens (@cnmpacers) May 9, 2013