The Miami Heat walked away victorious last night for numerous reasons. For one, they beat a top rival in their conference on opening night in front of millions of fans. That is definitely something to be proud of. The Heat’s defense also performed at a high level, suffocating Derrick Rose in numerous double teams and blocking multiple shot attempts from the Chicago Bulls at the rim.
The aggressive defense that the Heat utilized exploited a major weakness for the Bulls, one that could haunt them especially in the playoffs: the lack of a secondary scorer.
It was apparent from tipoff what the Heat’s game plan was: double-team Rose at all costs. As soon as Rose would dribble to the top of the court, he would meet a double-team force of either Mario Chalmers and Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Bosh, or LeBron James and Chalmers. This is what forced Rose to only score 12 points, going 4-of-15 from the field.
When this type of play breaks down, it is the up the player being double-teamed to pass the ball to the open man. Not only did Rose have a hard time doing this, only racking up four assists, but when the ball did makes it way to the open player, it mostly resulted in a missed shot. The Bulls shot just 42.2 percent from the field and 26.9 percent from beyond the arc last night against the Heat, which is a huge sign of their lack of offensive cohesion.
The Bulls have plenty of time to develop chemistry as a team, but more offensive firepower is going to be needed especially from the bench if they are going to take down the defending champs. Only five players scored in double digits for the Bulls, while the Heat had seven.
Five of those seven players scored more than even Rose did (12 points). It just wasn’t a great night for a team predicted to have the best chance of upsetting Miami and making it to the NBA Finals. Good thing it is only one game out of 82.