CHICAGO (AP) - LeBron James had trouble sleeping the night before the opener of the Eastern Conference finals because he was so excited about the opportunity ahead. Maybe he was a little tired Sunday night.
Now the Miami Heat star will likely have more restless nights ahead before Game 2 on Wednesday night.
James picked up two first-quarter fouls, had an off-night offensively shooting just 5-for-15, and the Heat’s defense became unglued in the second half Sunday night as the Bulls took control in a 103-82 victory.
James, averaging 26.1 points in the playoffs so far, finished with 15 _ only five in the second half.
Chicago native Dwyane Wade had 18, eight under his playoff average, while shooting 7-for-17.
Miami’s starters watched the final two minutes of the blowout from the bench, not the start they could ever have envisioned. The Heat, who were 0-3 against the Bulls in the regular season, finished with 16 turnovers, four apiece by James and Wade.
James managed only two points in the third quarter when the Bulls pulled out to a nine-point lead. He was guarded all night by Luol Deng and had trouble shaking the Bulls’ 6-foot-9 defender.
In the third period, he lost one ball near the Bulls bench and seconds later tried to take Taj Gibson one-on-one to the basket, only to have his shot deflected.
With the final possession of the third quarter, James put up a 3-pointer that wasn’t close. His 3-pointer early in the fourth got the Heat to within eight but then the Bulls pulled away and James didn’t score again.
With an astonished “Who me?” look James was called for his second foul later in the opening quarter after a scramble for a rebound that saw Chicago’s Gibson wind up on the floor. There was only 1:07 left in the quarter when James, with four points, headed to the bench with the Heat ahead by four.
But the decibel level got cranked in the opening minutes of the second quarter when Gibson went over Wade with an emphatic dunk that turned into a three-point tying the game.