Hey, very tough to nitpick a game as improbably awesome as what we saw in Game 1. So tough that I'd rather not even include it in the full recap...
- The Heat's slow first half was even more remarkable given that the Bulls did what every team fears against the Heat: they turned the ball over. 11 times in that first half, though fortunately many weren't the 'live ball' variety that lead to the Heat fast break. And, of course, the Bulls also do an outstanding job in transition to limit the damage of their mistakes. In the second half they only committed 4 turnovers. So that was great.
Carlos Boozer turned back into a screamy playoff pumpkin. He's had good games against Miami in the past, but in this one it looked like when he's at his worst: a matchup where the speed is just too much for him. As Taj took over his position in the 4th quarter, Boozer only played 25 minutes and finished with 6 points and 3 turnovers. He was on an early pace to shatter a personal record of dismayed Carlos Boozer faces, so it was for the best.
- Outside of Gibson, the bench gave Thibodeau nothing. Marquis Teague and Daequan Cook combined for a horrid brief stretch in the second quarter that resulted in 3 turnovers, and that was that. Those two and Nazr Mohammed didn't even see the floor in the 2nd half.
- Brief aside on minutes: yes, Thibs is doing some of the same blood-from-stone stuff these past couple weeks that I've ragged on him all season. But it's clearly past 'screw it' time by now: even if Kirk Hinrich doesn't play again after that 60 minute game, that got the Bulls that game 4 win, which helped them win the series in that awesome game 7, and allowed for this crazy opening game win against the freaking Miami Heat. You can say have more of a long-term vision, but these our the title games, essentially. Jimmy Butler will have plenty of rest soon, and Joakim Noah is only looking better by the game.
- Rip Hamilton is now officially behind Cook in the rotation. Somehow. That's downright embarrassing for all parties, if the Bulls weren't so goofy with injuries they probably could get away with just claiming Rip's back still hurt.
- And speaking of injuries, Nate Robinson got busted up in the face late in the first half as he got the worst of a fight for a lose ball with LeBron. Robinson required 10 stitches, and as you know, came back with that epic fourth quarter. Marco Belinelli also was in a high-impact collision with LeBron in the game, something I wouldn't wish upon anyone.