The first Chicago Bulls game of the 2013-2014 season ended with a comfortable Dwyane Wade three-pointer. If you have been watching the Miami Heat and Wade’s career over the past four seasons, you already know how this game ended for the Bulls: in disappointment. The Bulls were defeated by the Miami Heat 107-95.
Chicago came into the game with an expectation of playing their usual tenacious defense while methodically moving the ball to find open offensive looks. It was Miami, however, who effortlessly moved the ball while playing stifling defense on the Bulls. The Heat took a lead in the first quarter and never looked back.
“The ball was moving and this is a very unselfish team,” Wade said. “That’s what Coach sees and that’s what we practice. Any given night on this team one of us has to lead this team, we have to focus, and make sure we take the best shots.”
The Heat starters played well, with LeBron James scoring 17 points, Mario Chalmers adding 13, and Chris Bosh scoring 16. However, it was Miami’s bench who stepped up with key contributions from Chris “Birdman” Anderson, Ray Allen, Norris Cole and Shane Battier, who together totaled 42 points. The Bulls’ bench was solid but not as stout, netting 26 points.
Perhaps the worst blow to Bulls fans came in the form of the highly anticipated debut of their star point guard, Derrick Rose. Coming into this game after a dominating preseason, much was expected of him in his first game since April of 2012. Rose did not play like the Rose we’re accustomed to seeing in his first regular season game, in which he scored 12 points and dished out four assists. Rose looked great in spurts, but he’ll clearly need more time to return to true superstar form.
Forward Carlos Boozer took the Bulls offensive game by storm, leading the Bulls with 31 points on 13-18 shooting from the field. Joakim Noah finished the game with two points and 11 rebounds; this was Noah’s first game, including pre-season, as he sat out with a groin injury. Luol Deng ended with only four points and Jimmy Butler recorded 20.
While the Bulls may have underperformed for their first game, this contest was the first opportunity for Rose, Butler, Deng, Boozer and Noah to be on the court all at the same time. Accordingly, they will need time and patience to build the chemistry that a good starting rotation demonstrates. Still, they showed in brief flashes what a dominant team they can be, and it would be surprising for them not to turn it up at some point soon.
In the grand scheme of the Eastern Conference, the contest presents a good start for both teams. Chicago is known to be a defensive minded team and will have more than enough games to tighten up that side of the ball while becoming comfortable with one another offensively. Look for them to be near the top of the Eastern conference as the season progresses.
For Miami, this game is a statement win as they defeat the Bulls with all hands on deck. Beating a team like Chicago, known for their defense, shows early that Miami is ready to begin their three-peat attempt. While Wade may not have had a stellar game, his performance may well have been tainted by his return from injury. The talent of their remaining starters in Chalmers, James, Haslem, Bosh and their incredibly deep bench proves to be more than enough to help balance out the team nightly. The rest of the Eastern Conference had better prepare themselves, as both teams are primed for great seasons.