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2013 NBA Playoffs: 5 Takeaways From Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls In Game 1

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Takeaways From Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls Game 1

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls managed to come out and shock the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the 2013 NBA Playoffs in the second-round. A depleted Bulls lineup grinded the game out and delivered a cold shower that still has the champions shivering.

Derrick Rose is yet to play this season, but the Bulls' injury woes go beyond their All-Star point guard. Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich were both ruled out of Game 1, but the team somehow managed to outwork Miami and steal the opening game.

Miami scored just 15 points in the first quarter and the eight-day worth of built up rust was evident. The Heat were missing everything – even the open three-pointers.

LeBron James had just accepted his fourth MVP award in front of the AmericanAirlines Arena, but struggled to find his offensive rhythm. James had his worst-ever scoring performance at halftime, putting up just two points on 1-6 shooting.

While James picked it up and dropped 22 points in the second half, the Heat still collapsed late in the game. Miami could not find an answer to Nate Robinson, who has turned into somewhat of a go-to guy for Chicago in late-game situations, and he burned them.

Many people are already jumping on the Bulls' bandwagon and saying that they have what it takes to beat Miami. However, the Heat have been in this type of situation before and it will be interesting to see if they can bounce back.

So, what can we take away from Game 1? Continue reading to find out.

Vytis is a Miami Heat and NBA columnist for RantSports. You can follow him on Twitter here: @VytisLasaitis

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Bulls Shut Down Miami’s Transition Game

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Early in the game, it was evident that Chicago made it a point of emphasis to prevent the Heat from scoring in transition. To beat Miami, you have to make sure not to let them score easy points in the fastbreak, which the Bulls did. A lot of times, the Bulls collectively fell back as soon as they put up a shot attempt, giving up on the offensive rebound. That way, the whole team was back and set on defense by the time Miami advanced the ball. The Heat scored just nine fastbreak points.

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Overall Late-Game Collapse

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat were collectively the most clutch team in the NBA last season, averaging extremely efficient numbers in crunch time. All of that went out of the window in Game 1. Miami collapsed defensively, surrendering 35 points to a mediocre Bulls' offense. Miami’s late-game offense was also horrific, as there was little to no secondary movement when a set play fell through.

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Jimmy Butler’s Smothering Defense

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Butler has been somewhat of a revelation this season. Tom Thibodeau loves guys who put in the effort on the defensive end, and that is reflected in Butler’s minutes. Jimmy did not take a seat and played all 48 minutes. He had a huge part in limiting James, especially in the first half. You can’t quite call him a LeBron-stopper, as such a thing doesn’t exist, but Butler’s individual defense was fantastic.

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Miami’s Defensive Rotations

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

If there is something positive the Heat can take away from Game 1, it was certainly the team’s defensive rotations. While Miami had a tough time defending in the fourth quarter, they generally did a great job. The Heat constantly trapped ball handlers in pick and rolls and everyone rotated at an exceptional pace when the Bulls moved the ball.

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Miami’s Poor Shooting – Probably Just Rust

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Collectively, the Heat shot just 29 percent from beyond the arc in Game 1. Shane Battier struggled all evening, connecting on just two of his seven three-point attempts. Chicago did give up some great looks, but Miami failed to convert. If those looks present themselves again, Miami’s shooters will most likely knock them down.