Nate Robinson was spitting blood in the first half, then delivered the deepest cuts of the night in the final moments. And the Chicago Bulls reminded the Miami Heat that no one in the NBA plays them any tougher.
Yes, the streakbusters struck again.
Robinson scored 27 points, Jimmy Butler added 21 points and a career-high-tying 14 rebounds, and the Bulls won, 93-86, on Monday night in Miami in Game 1 of the teams’ Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The team that snapped Miami’s 27-game winning streak in the regular season — the second-longest in NBA history — found a way to topple the champs again, this time ending a run of 12 straight Heat victories overall.
‘‘I've played on some tough teams,’’ Robinson said. ‘‘But this one, there’s something a little different, something special about this group.’’
A 7-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter wasn’t enough to doom the Bulls, who finished the game on a 10-0 run in the final 1:59. And to think, the Bulls weren’t anywhere near full strength. Kirk Hinrich was out again with a calf injury. Luol Deng isn’t expected to rejoin the team until Tuesday, after dealing with an illness apparently so severe that a spinal tap — and other tests since — were needed to rule out things like meningitis.
Oh, and Derrick Rose remains sidelined, as he’s been since April 2012.
No problem. The Heat are 41-3 in their last 44 games — with two of those losses are to the Bulls, who are now 3-2 against Miami this season.
LeBron James got his MVP trophy from commissioner David Stern before the game, then struggled to a 2-point first half before finishing with 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists for Miami. Dwyane Wade added 14 for the Heat, who had no one else in double figures. They shot 40 percent from the floor and were outrebounded, 46-32.
‘‘I'm not stunned,’’ James said. ‘‘This is what the playoffs is all about. We’re going against a really good team.’’
Miami was outscored, 35-24, in the fourth, something that drew the ire of Heat coach Erik Spoelstra afterward.
‘‘There’s no excuses,’’ said Spoelstra, whose team had not played in more than a week. ‘‘We’re not making any excuses for time off or anything else.’’
If anyone could have made excuses, it was Robinson. He needed 10 stitches, five in his lip and five more inside his mouth, to close a nasty cut that came when he dove for a loose ball with James and struck his head on the court late in the first half.
And then not only did he play the whole second half, he scored 24 points in those 24 minutes, including the last 7 that finished the job for Chicago.
Spurs 129, Warriors 127 — Manu Ginobili’s 3-pointer from the wing with 1.2 seconds left in double overtime lifted host San Antonio to a thrilling victory over Golden State and Stephen Curry (44 points) in Game 1 of their Western Conference second-round series.
The Spurs trailed by 16 points with four minutes left in regulation before going on an 18-2 run to close the fourth quarter and force overtime.
They trailed, 127-126, with 3.9 seconds left in the second overtime before Ginobili hit his 3-pointer off a cross-court inbounds pass from Kawhi Leonard. Golden State had one final chance but Jarrett Jack’s 3-pointer was off.