Record 11.1 million watch Game 1
Sunday's Game 1 of the Bulls-Miami series was the most watched NBA broadcast in the history of cable television, according to TNT.
The estimated audience for Game 1 was 11.1 million viewers and it earned a 6.2 rating. The previous best was the 2003 All-Star Game, Michael Jordan's last one, which drew 10.8 million viewers.
Last year's Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on TNT between Phoenix and the Los Angeles Lakers drew 7.1 million viewers.
Not broken, don't fix:
Bulls players offered similar suggestions on why the defense has been strong all season.
"Repetition," Joakim Noah said. "Practice hasn't changed one bit since the first day. It's the same practice every day. So a lot of repetition."
Miami has averaged 88.3 points in four games against the Bulls this season.
Opinion on Deng shifts:
Tom Thibodeau was asked Monday if his opinion of Luol Deng changed now that he's gotten a chance to coach him.
"I always had a lot of respect for him as a player because I felt he could do a lot of damage, especially if you're not playing close attention to him," said the former Boston assistant. "After being around him and seeing how hard he works and his leadership ability, I didn't realize what a great leader he is.
"He's been terrific all season long. He's a complete player, plays great defense, can do everything offensively. I thought he was good and he's been much better than I thought."
LeBron accepts back seat:
The Bulls and Miami probably would have played Game 1 on Monday if not for Oprah Winfrey's farewell special, which is being taped at the United Center on Tuesday.
As soon as Sunday's game ended, workers swarmed the building to start converting it for the show.
Miami's LeBron James doesn't mind waiting an extra day for Game 2.
"She's very important," he said. "Not only to the world, but to this city. We'll take a back seat to Oprah. We don't have a problem with that."
While the Bulls never lost more than two in a row all season, Miami experienced some extended funks, with losing streaks of three, four and five games during the regular season.
"The next two and a half days we're going to work to fix some of these challenges that we had (Sunday)," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "But we still have to understand that Wednesday is a golden opportunity for us."
Familiar feeling for Kerr:
TNT game analyst Steve Kerr, a member of the 1996-98 Bulls championship teams, said Sunday's contest brought back memories.
"It reminded me a lot of the old days, for sure," he said Monday on a teleconference. "Marv (Albert) mentioned the opening with the starting lineups, the same music. The magic is back in that building, for sure. This city has really fallen in love with the current team and it's great to see the energy back in the building and the city."
Kerr on Rose:
Steve Kerr played with Bulls legends Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, and had this to say about Derrick Rose:
"The outside shooting has completely changed everything," Kerr said. "He made 16 3s in his first two seasons in the league and 128 this year. That's remarkable. You rarely see that kind of a jump from anybody. It's an indication of how hard he works.
"What's been fun is just to see him in the media and see his humility, which is genuine. It's so rare to see a superstar player who is that humble and that deferential to his teammates and his coaching staff and yet be so competitive and such a killer on the floor.
"He's a special talent, obviously, but a special human being. That's the combination it really takes to be a superstar. When you have all of those things wrapped up in one, that's a powerful force."