nate robinson

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 beat Miami 93-86 on Monday night 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 seven-point deficit midway through the fourth 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 even 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…

LeBron James got his MVP trophy from Commissioner David Stern before the game, then struggled to a two-point first half before finishing with 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Miami. Dwyane Wade added 14 for the Heat, who had no one else in double figures, finished shooting 40 percent from the floor and were outrebounded 46-32…

Joakim Noah scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who got 12 from Taj Gibson and 10 from Marco Belinelli. Game 2 is Wednesday night in Miami…

Wade dove into the second row of seats to save an errant ball, and grimaced after appearing to hit his sore right knee. ”I wish somebody would have grabbed me. That would have been kind of nice, especially at home,” Wade said.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press