The Heat are the presumptive NBA title favorites. They have been for months. They still are today. But at least for a moment, after stealing Game 1 in Miami, the shorthanded Chicago Bulls have become a huge obstacle in the champs’ path.
Nate Robinson — the Bulls’ journeyman, 5’9” third-string point guard, starting in place of the injured Kirk Hinrich (who was starting in place of the injured Derrick Rose) — scored 27 points Monday night.
Against the best team in the league, on the road, with two minutes left in a tie game, here’s what Mr. Third-String did.
After shedding Mario Chalmers with a vicious crossover, Robinson hit from the top of the key, putting the Bulls up two and setting up this cold-blooded stare-down.
After Dwyane Wade hurriedly missed a three-pointer, Robinson took the ball down the court, waved off his teammates and scored again, using his superior speed to turn the corner on Ray Allen and penetrate the lane.
That shot sealed it. And thanks to Robinson — plus unheralded second-year player Jimmy Butler, who has played 144 straight minutes for the Bulls, and Joakim Noah’s presence in the paint — the Bulls have an improbable early series lead.
Stay tuned, folks: Game 2’s on Wednesday.