Norris Cole scored 18 points for Miami, which got 15 from Dwyane Wade and 13 from Chris Bosh. The Heat led 42-38 with 3:42 left in the first half, before going on an absurd 62-20 run.
It was that one-sided. Miami shot 60 percent to Chicago’s 36, outrebounded the Bulls 41-28, and enjoyed huge edges in points off turnovers (28-7) and fast-break points (20-2).
The only stat that Chicago dominated: Technicals, where the Bulls outpaced Miami 6-3.
“We got sidetracked and you can’t do that,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We allowed frustration to carry over to the next play. … You come in here, you’re not going to get calls. That’s reality.”
Marco Belinelli scored 13 for the Bulls, who got 12 from Noah and 11 from Robinson.
For much of the first half, it was everything expected from a Bulls-Heat game, especially after Chicago took Game 1 on Monday night. It was physical — Udonis Haslem sent Robinson flying on the game’s first possession, and Belinelli hammered Wade on the ensuing Miami trip, one that ended with Wade getting the first of the game’s nine technical fouls for throwing the ball into the Bulls’ guard.
James wore a T-shirt that said “Up To Me” before the game, and it appeared the message had some literal meaning. After being held to two first-half points in Game 1, he went 6 for 6 in the opening quarter of Game 2, as Miami took a 25-20 lead.
“I wanted to be aggressive,” James said.
It was still close late in the second, before the Heat ended the half on a 13-3 run, one where Cole and Robinson looked like they were playing 1-on-1 — and the Miami guard was getting much the best of Chicago’s postseason hero so far.
Robinson made a 3-pointer to get Chicago within 49-41, then turned and said some words toward Cole. So Cole quickly had an answer, hitting one corner 3-pointer over Robinson and letting him know about it, then making another 30 seconds later to give Miami what was then its biggest lead of the night.
Of course, it didn’t stay that way.
“The whole game was frustrating,” Gibson said. “We didn’t really play good enough defense to kind of slow them down and stop them like we did in Game 1. I just got a little bit frustrated. I’ve got to compose myself a little bit better, just trying to be there for my teammates.”
James didn’t score in the third quarter — he missed all three of his shots — and still was dominant, with five assists in that period alone, as the Heat turned it into a laugher. They outscored the Bulls 30-15 in the third, stretching the lead out to 31 points as Chicago missed 13 of its 17 shots in the period.
“We’re capable of much better and we’re going to have to be a lot better,” Thibodeau said.
Then in the fourth, with the game already lost, the Bulls lost what was left of their composure.
Noah got ejected and while that mess was being sorted out, Gibson got two more technicals and joined his teammate in the visiting locker room.
“I just wanted to let the referee, I wanted to let him know, how I felt about the game,” Noah said.
Even TNT announcer Steve Kerr, a former Bulls player, questioned the officiating at that point.
“I don’t blame Gibson,” Kerr said as Gibson left the court, television cameras catching him direct a stream of what appeared to be profanities toward either referees, players or both.
The Heat never got that wrapped up in the shenanigans, or at least, didn’t seem to be bothered by it all.
“Sometimes, it’s going to be very physical,” Wade said. “But it’s the playoffs.”
Wade said losing Game 1 was Miami’s first true taste of adversity all season, and he was eager to see how the Heat responded. He said the team simply looked itself in the mirror and challenged itself to do better.
That being said, the job is far from done. Chicago’s “Madhouse on Madison” now awaits, and by the time most players were dressed after the game Wednesday, Noah was already looking ahead to Friday.
“We didn’t play well, but it’s not the end of the world,” Noah said. “It’s 1-1, and it’s going to be a big game in Chicago.”