By Matt Spiegel–
CHICAGO (WSCR) Hot damn game 1 was fun. Here are some impressions from the 300 level, where I’m undefeated on the season (5-0). I love the view up there…2nd row center, you can watch everything develop.
Joakim’s Energy: Before the tip, he lit the crowd on fire. Bouncing around, revving us up. Jo would later say the anthem got him going, but he sent it right back tenfold. It was easily the loudest Bulls crowd I’ve ever been a part of, well, since ’98.
Offensively, It Looked Like The Beginning Of The Heat’s Season: They don’t run anything…no offense of consequence. To beat a great defense like the Bulls, you have to move the ball…like Atlanta did when they played well in game 4. The Heat just isolating and trying to make great individual plays is not going to get it done. For instance, you get good three point shots off movement, and team-first penetration. How many threes did Miami even shoot? 8. The Bulls made 10. This discrepancy is because they’re isolating and stagnant on offense.
I Love Random Stranger High 5’s In The 4th Quarter: While up 17 points on the big bad Heat, I bond with my fellow 300 level-mates. Any possible disease is worth contracting for the sake of fan camaraderie. That said, perhaps I should have hit the Purell afterwards.
My Favorite Moment Of The Night: 2:16 left, fourth quarter. Wade goes to get a loose ball in his own end, down 19 points, with no one around him. He casually, accidentally, steps out of bounds. It’s a careless and lazy moment from a defeated, frustrated star. He walks immediately off the court, subbed for by Spoelstra and is done for the night. The villain D Wade walks off tired, beaten. It was beautiful.
Taj’s Follow Dunk: Many fans, even Bulls fans, had started filing out to beat the traffic. Are you crazy? The 4th quarter of a Bulls blowout is basketball porn. Yes, it devolves into basketball porn…pure orgiastic joy watching domination on that level, in a game of this magnitude. And Taj Gibson, well, he provided the climax. There were screams and yelps of shock and awe all over the building. Watching on Tivo later, you can hear Reggie Miller and Steve Kerr both scream…and their microphones distort. Taj Gibson’s one handed windmill follow dunk made TNT’s microphones distort. Oh, and he followed it up with a blocked shot on the next Miami possession. Taj was phenomenal.
The Bulls Do Not Panic: I don’t think this comes through on television in the same way. They were a touch timid early it seemed, even though they’d beaten the Heat 3-0 in regular season. They had to adjust to this intensity, the bigness of the challenge. But even then, as they’re scuffling, there is a sense of calm about these Bulls. You could see it all night, and then they came out even more comfortable in the 3rd quarter. The Bulls had better pacing all night….they simply know they’re the better team. They walk, and play, and act, and talk, like they know they can beat these guys. And The Heat, well, they have some tendency for panic in them. The pressure is on them.
It’s just the beginning, just game 1; the Rebel Alliance is just beginning the attack on the NBA’s Death Star. Patience, young rim rocker, patience.