"I wanted to be aggressive," James said.
It was still close late in the second, before the Heat ended the half on a 13-3 run, one where Cole and Robinson looked like they were playing 1-on-1 — and the Miami guard was getting much the best of Chicago's postseason hero so far.
Robinson made a 3-pointer to get Chicago within 49-41, then turned and said some words toward Cole. So Cole quickly had an answer, hitting one corner 3-pointer over Robinson and letting him know about it, then making another 30 seconds later to give Miami what was then its biggest lead of the night.
Of course, it didn't stay that way.
"You just stay the course and understand what we're here for and it's to win the basketball game," James said. "We were able to do that tonight."
James didn't score in the third quarter — he missed all three of his shots — and still was dominant, with five assists in that period alone, as the Heat turned it into a laugher. They outscored the Bulls 30-15 in the third, stretching the lead out to 31 points as Chicago missed 13 of its 17 shots in the period.
"We're capable of much better and we're going to have to be a lot better," Thibodeau said.
Then in the fourth, with the game already lost, the Bulls lost what was left of their composure.
Noah got ejected with 10:13 left, and while that mess was being sorted out, Gibson got two more technicals and joined his teammate in the visiting locker room.
"I just wanted to let the referee, I wanted to let him know, how I felt about the game," Noah said.
Even TNT announcer Steve Kerr, a former Bulls player, questioned the officiating at that point.
"I don't blame Gibson," Kerr said as Gibson left the court, television cameras catching him direct a stream of what appeared to be profanities toward either referees, players or both.
The Heat never got that wrapped up in the shenanigans, or at least, didn't seem to be bothered by it all.
"Sometimes, it's going to be very physical," Wade said. "But it's the playoffs."
Wade said losing Game 1 was Miami's first true taste of adversity all season, and he was eager to see how the Heat responded. He said the team simply looked itself in the mirror and challenged itself to do better.
"We did a pretty good job," James said.
That being said, the job is far from done. Chicago's "Madhouse on Madison" now awaits, and by the time most players were dressed after the game Wednesday, Noah was already looking ahead to Friday.
"We didn't play well, but it's not the end of the world," Noah said. "It's 1-1, and it's going to be a big game in Chicago."
NOTES: Jimmy Butler's streak of consecutive minutes played ended when he took a seat 12 seconds into the second quarter. He logged more than 160 consecutive minutes. ... The Heat were 9 for 18 from 3-point range. ... James didn't score in the second half. ... Miami's biggest postseason win had been a 35-point victory over Orlando on April 24, 1997.