"It's a great time of the year and our approach, we don't want to change anything," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I think our guys have done a good job all year long going step by step. I think you're faced with a number of different challenges throughout the course of the year and this is just the next step. So if you handle everything the proper way and you're building the right habits, you should be able to handle stuff like this."
The Heat opted to go small against the Bulls in Game 1, sitting center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and using Chris Bosh at center and LeBron James at power forward for long stretches. The strategy didn't pay off as the Bulls outrebounded Miami 45-33, including a 19-6 advantage on the offensive boards, in a 103-82 victory.
The Bulls grabbed 41.3 percent (19-of-46) of their misses (excluding deadball rebounds) in Game 1, the highest rate by a Heat opponent this season, including the postseason, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Miami's previous high was 35.4 percent in a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 16.
Whether the Heat go big or continue with their Game 1 plan, Thibodeau said the Bulls will be prepared. But he said lineup changes aren't the biggest differences game to game in the playoffs.
The Heat shot 47.1 percent from the field in Game 1 compared to the Bulls' 43.1, but Chicago held James and Wade to 12 field goals and 33 points combined. That kind of defense coupled with their dominant rebounding has been a Bulls' staple all season, and when paired with 47.1 percent shooting (10-of-21) from three-point range, they overwhelmed the Heat in Game 1.
"Your defense and your rebounding are the two things you want to be able to count on every night," Thibodeau said. "Some nights you're going to shoot the ball better than others, but if you're doing those other two things you should still have a chance to win."
ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell contributed to this report.