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Heat ready to regroup after losing opener to Bulls

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 03:46 AM
DEERFIELD, Ill. -

There wasn't much else LeBron James could do other than shrug it all off and vow to perform better in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. Game 1 certainly didn't go well for the Miami Heat.

With James and Dwyane Wade struggling, and the Heat getting beaten badly on the boards, Chris Bosh's 30 points weren't enough to bail out the Heat in the opener. The top-seeded Chicago Bulls won 103-82, and now have a chance to grab a commanding lead when the series resumes tonight at the United Center.

"We've been able to bounce back this year no matter if it's been the regular season or the postseason," James said. "Learn from mistakes in the previous game and then move on. We've done that. We're looking forward to the challenge, we're excited about tomorrow's opportunity to be here and try to steal homecourt."

If they don't get more from James and Wade, the Heat won't get that chance and a 2-0 deficit more daunting then it sounds. The Bulls never lost more than two in a row on their way to a league-leading 62 wins and their first conference finals appearance since the second championship three-peat 13 years ago. They swept three close games from the Heat during the regular season and are off to a good start in this series.

James and Wade came in on a surge, only to have the plug pulled against one of the league's stingiest defenses.

Coming off back-to-back games with 35 and 33 points against Boston in the semifinals, James scored just 15 in the opener while hitting five of 15 shots. He couldn't shake Luol Deng or active big men like Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah helping out.

Wade didn't have much luck, either, after averaging 30.2 points against the Celtics. He finished with 18 points and the Bulls broke it open down the stretch on their way to a lopsided victory.

"I think we've got to play better," said Deng, who scored 21 points. "I really do. We played really well. If you look at the final score, we won by a lot, but it really wasn't that kind of game. It really wasn't. It was tied at the half. They had the lead at some point in the third quarter. So there's a lot of things we've got to get better at."

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