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NBA PLAYOFF PREVIEWS

May 8, 2013
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



(5) CHICAGO BULLS (1-0) AT (1) MIAMI HEAT (0-1), 7 P.M.

(Sports Network) - The Miami Heat find themselves in a position most thought they wouldn't be in all postseason - they are down in a series.

Granted, it's only a 0-1 deficit, but that makes Wednesday's Game 2 against the Chicago Bulls all the more interesting.

"We understood, we're not going undefeated the rest of the year," said Dwyane Wade. "We have to come out and make adjustments and play better, especially toward the end, when it's winning time."

LeBron James echoed Wade's disappointment in how the Heat played late in Monday's 93-86 setback at American Airlines Arena. Miami held a comfortable lead, but the Bulls finished the game on a 10-0 run to steal Game 1 in Miami.

Chicago held a commanding 46-32 advantage on the glass and a 17-8 edge in second-chance points. The Bulls had a 40-32 points in the paint advantage.

Miami will need to improve on those numbers, or the unthinkable reality of the Heat falling to 0-2 becomes possible.

"Every game is a must-win in the playoffs," said James.

The Heat have been dominant in recent history, just remember their 27-game winning streak, which, was halted by the Bulls.

They haven't been immune from falling behind in a series. Miami trailed in three different series last year en route to the franchise's second NBA championship.

"It doesn't bother us," said James. "It's nothing we like being accustomed to. We've been in this position before."

James, who had a career playoff-low of two points in the first half Monday, finished with team-highs of 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Wade was the only other Miami player in double figures with 14.

For the Bulls, Monday's win was just another in a string of impressive performances this postseason.

There was the triple-overtime, Game 4 thriller against the Brooklyn Nets. There was stealing Game 7 in Brooklyn after the Nets pulled even. And now, you can add Monday's series-opener to the mix.

"We feel like we could have played better (in Game 1), said All-Star center Joakim Noah. "They probably feel the same way. It's going to be a great Game 2."

The Bulls have been ravaged by injury and illness, starting with former MVP Derrick Rose, who has still not returned from a torn ACL suffered in last season's first round of the playoffs.

Noah limped into the postseason with plantar fascitis and his coach finally admitted to how bad it was for the first-time All-Star.

"The night before the Brooklyn series, he said he didn't think he was going to be able to play," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau admitted on Tuesday. "He's found something that works, he's feeling a lot better, and obviously that's huge for our team."

Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng both have missed significant time this postseason. Hinrich injured his calf and Deng is suffering side effects from a spinal tap to test for meningitis. Thibodeau said Hinrich will once again test the leg before the game and Deng is still not with the team, although that could change Wednesday.

"He's feeling a little better, but he's going to be home probably for another day," Thibodeau said, referring to Deng. "We haven't decided yet. We're trying to weigh whether it's better for him to start doing activity back home."

That's meant heavier minutes for those that can go, namely Jimmy Butler. He's played all 48 minutes of the last three games for Chicago.

And Nate Robinson has been spectacular as well. He led the Bulls in Game 1 with 27 points. Butler had a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds and Noah also had a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards.

Game 3 is slated for Friday night in Chicago.

 

 

(6) GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (0-1) AT (2) SAN ANTONIO SPURS (1-0), 9:30 P.M.

(Sports Network) - The San Antonio Spurs are fortunate to be up 1-0 in their series with the Golden State Warriors, but they'll try for a commanding lead Wednesday night when the two teams jump it up for Game 2 at the AT&T Center.

Manu Ginobili, who was all of 4-for-19 from the floor, buried a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left on the clock in double-overtime to give the Spurs a 129-127 victory.

The Warriors built an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter, but frittered it all away. It was a huge comeback victory for a San Antonio squad that isn't going to dwell on it.

"It is over. You can enjoy it for a short period of time," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after practice on Tuesday. "We know how they'll come back and they'll react to a tough loss. They reacted well in Denver in the same situation and they'll react well tomorrow."

Popovich is referring to the Warriors winning Game 2 in their first-round series with the Denver Nuggets. After losing a heartbreaker in Game 1 when Andre Miller scored on a late layup, Golden State won in Denver, something only three teams did all regular season.

"We went through the same thing during Game 1 with our series with Denver," Stephen Curry said. "We know how to come back because we have been a resilient team all year. We just have to turn it back on and be ready to go for Game 2."

Curry has been ready to go the entire postseason. He was awesome in Game 1 with 44 points, including 22 in the third quarter alone. Curry, who played all but four seconds of the double-overtime thriller, went 18-for-35 from the field, 6-for-14 from long range, and even handed out 11 assists.

"We'd like to figure out how to hold Curry below 40," said Popovich.

Good luck.

Curry is averaging 27.1 ppg during the postseason, which is third-best behind Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks.

Curry leads the playoffs in assists at 9.6 per game.

"He's probably the best shooter I've ever seen," Tim Duncan said at Spurs practice.

That's high praise for Curry, who made the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated.

Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes both had 19 points. Jarrett Jack chipped in 15 points and Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green both added 10. Bogut grabbed 15 rebounds and Barnes pulled down 12 boards.

The Spurs were led by their point guard Tony Parker, who had 28 points. Danny Green went 6-for-9 from long range for 22, then came Duncan with 19 and 11 rebounds. Duncan battled flu-like symptoms and was limited to 34 minutes.

Ginobili finished with 16 points, on two made 3-pointers, and 11 assists and became the hero, despite his horrendous shooting night.

"It's only the second one I made all day," Ginobili said. "Good timing, though."

Game 3 is scheduled for Friday night at Oracle Arena.


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