THE FACTS: Guard Nate Robinson scored a game-high 27 points to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 93-86 victory against the Miami Heat Monday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Bulls scored 35 points in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Heat, rallying from a seven-point deficit. Forward Jimmy Butler finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds while also playing solid defense on Heat star LeBron James.
James had 24 points on 8-of-17 shooting but was held in check for three quarters. The Bulls did it behind a strong defensive effort, holding the Heat to just 39 percent shooting from the field. The Heat's Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined to shoot 18-of-43 from the field.
Wade finished 14 points while Bosh had just nine points on 3-of-10 shooting. What made the performance even more impressive was the Bulls were playing without starters Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich, who were both out with injuries.
QUOTABLE: "You have to make it where he (James) has to work and you also have to close out and you have to finish with the rebound. I thought the rebounding was good overall. We know how good they are and this is just one game and we're going to have to play a lot better."
-- Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
THE STAT: The key in every Bulls' victory against the Heat this season has been balance. Chicago had five players score in double-figures.
TURNING POINT: Trailing 76-69 with 6:30 left in the game, the Bulls went on an 11-2 run to regain the lead.
QUOTABLE II: "We are not making excuses for time-off or anything else. Give them credit because they exploded for 35 points in the fourth quarter. Obviously that is not going to get it done on our home court in the playoffs."
-- Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
HOT: Robinson received 10 stitches in his upper lip after colliding with James late in the first half, but returned to continue his hot scoring stretch. He was 8-of-16 from the field and also had nine assists.
NOT: James was solid but he was ineffective for three quarters. When it was time to produce, it was already too late because the Bulls had gained momentum.
GOOD MOVE: Playing without defensive-stopper Deng, the Bulls decided to go with the younger Butler on James. His energy and effort was key in slowing this year's MVP.
BAD MOVE: Trailing by two with 1:06 left, Wade took a poor 3-point shot at the top of the key. It came too early because there was plenty of time left. The Bulls then scored the next five points to ice the game.
NOTABLE: Deng is expected to join the team in Miami Tuesday. His status is day-to-day. Thibodeau said Hinrich (calf) will also likely be a game-time decision for Wednesday
UP NEXT: Game 2 at 7 p.m. ET Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena