Take out the second quarter, and the Chicago Bulls outscored the Miami Heat, 77-70.
Trouble is, that pesky second quarter counts just the same as the other three, and the Heat pounded the returning Derrick Rose and his teammates to the tune of a 37-18 score. A 54-33 halftime deficit was too much for Chicago to overcome, and they ultimately fell to the defending NBA champions by the score of 107-95.
Rose played for the first time in just over 18 months, looking rusty at times and finishing with just 10 points on 4 of 15 shooting with just 4 assists and 1 rebound while turning the ball over 5 times. He also shot just 1 of 7 from long range on the night.
It’s hard to beat up Rose for his performance given the amount of time he’s been out of action. Carlos Boozer was really the only bright spot for the Bulls, scoring 19 points on 7 of 11 shooting with 5 rebounds, a steal, and a block by halftime and finishing the game with 31 points on 13 of 18 shooting.
Jimmy Butler played well, scoring 20 points on 6 of 12 shooting and chipping in 5 steals, 3 assists, and 3 rebounds. Mike Dunleavy came off the bench cold, missing his first 5 shots before knocking down a couple of three-pointers midway through the fourth quarter. All in all, the Bulls’ offense sputtered for much of the night, only showing life in the opening minutes of the game and in the latter stages of the fourth quarter with a 29-12 run that brought them within 95-87 with two and a half minutes remaining.
LeBron James struggled for much of the night as well, shooting just 5 of 11 from the floor and scoring 17 points, although he did pitch in 8 assists, 6 rebounds, and 1 steal in a typical do-it-all performance from the reigning MVP. Dwayne Wade had a similarly ho-hum opener, scoring just 13 points on 5 of 13 from the field.
It was really an ugly game, as often is the case in season openers. There was plenty of rust to be seen all over the court and on both squads, and it was in no way limited to Rose. The Heat eventually pulled away in the final two minutes after the Bulls managed to get it down to an eight point game.
Boozer and Butler were the only two players on either team to score more than twenty points, and each team turned the ball over an unsightly 18 times. Joakim Noah was the only player to hit double digits in rebounds, pulling down 11 boards in just 20 minutes of court time as he continues to nurse a groin injury.
The Heat will be in the City of Brotherly Love tomorrow evening to take on the Philadelphia
Tankers 76ers, while the Bulls will be off until Thursday night, when they’ll host the New York Knicks on TNT.