THE FACTS: LeBron James scored all of his 19 points in the first half and dished nine assists to lead the Miami Heat to a 115-78 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The 37-point victory margin was the largest in Heat postseason history. It was also the worst playoff defeat for the Bulls.
The series heads back to Chicago tied 1-1.
James made an effort to start faster after waiting three quarters before getting involved offensively in Game 1. This time, he was active early and helped the Heat to a 14-point lead at halftime. It was more of the same in the second half with the lead growing to 46 points.
The Heat starters sat the bulk of the fourth quarter in a game that was the complete opposite from the series-opener. The Heat held Bulls guard Nate Robinson and forward Jimmy Butler in check. After scoring 48 points in Game 1, they combined for just 19 points on 6-of-18 shooting.
Ray Allen led the Heat with 21 points off the bench while guard Dwyane Wade added 15. Center Chris Bosh finished with 13 points.
QUOTABLE: "We were able to save this one, but we are still in the hole. They (the Bulls) got what they needed. They got one. It doesn't matter about the score tonight. We need to move on now and get ready to go into the lion's den on Friday."
-- Heat coach Erik Spoelstra
THE STAT: The Bulls allowed 60 percent shooting for the first time since April 29, 1998, gave up 28 rebounds for the first time in a playoff game since June 14, 1998 and allowed 28 points off turnovers, their most in a playoff game since the stat began being tracked in 1996.
THE STAT II: The Heat shot 57 percent in the first half, setting the tone for the remainder. Miami also saw more production from its 3-point shooters, finishing 9-of-18 from the arc.
THE STAT III: Miami set playoff highs in margin of victory (37), points, field goal percentage (60 percent), 3-point percentage (50), second-half points (60), bench points (55), points in the paint (56), fast-break points (20) and points off turnovers (28).
TURNING POINT: The Bulls were hanging around in the first half, pulling to within 42-38. The Heat then closed the second quarter with a 13-3 run to take control.
HOT: James starting strong for the Heat was the key. He made seven of his first nine shots, turning the first half into a personal showcase. He is at his best when he opens aggressive on offense before getting teammates involved.
NOT: This was hardly the Robinson we had seen throughout the playoffs. He looked frustrated by the Heat's defensive pressure. There was talk of James having to defend him in the fourth quarter, but it never reached that point.
QUOTABLE II: "We got sidetracked and you can't do that. We showed a lot of frustration to carry over to the next play. You have to have poise under pressure. You come in here, you're not going to get calls. That is the way it is. That's reality. You can't get wrapped up in that stuff. You have to stay focused on the task at the hand."
-- Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said of the team losing its cool.
GOOD MOVE: The defense of Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole on Robinson can't be overlooked. Robinson has been one of the most dangerous scorers in the postseason, but was basically a non-factor. It was obvious the Heat point guards took it personal after being criticized for their play in Game 1.
BAD MOVE: The Bulls need to find a better way to control their emotions. Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were both ejected in the fourth quarter after receiving technical fouls for arguing with officials. It was surprising the ejections came so late with them jawing with the referees most of the game.
NOTABLE: Thibodeau seemed optimistic of Luol Deng (back) and Kirk Hinrich (calf) returning for Game 3. Both have yet to play in the series. According to Thibodeau, Hinrich is the closer of the two to returning.
UP NEXT: Game 3 is 8 p.m. ET Friday at United Center.