As a mob of reporters swarmed his locker, a shirtless Jimmy Butler grabbed his cowboy boots and sweater and dashed to another side of the room.

"Man, it's too hot in here,'' Butler muttered.

Now Butler knows how he made LeBron James feel for a good portion of Monday night.

Miami heat, indeed.

Butler not only scored 21 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds in the Bulls' stunning 93-86 Game 1 victory, he also played suffocating defense on the league's MVP. Sure, James scored 22 of his team-high 24 points in the second half, but Butler made James work for every point. James' air ball with 29.8 seconds left in regulation seemed to be the effect of a worn-down player.

Heat guard Dwyane Wade certainly was impressed with Butler and not just because they both attended Marquette.

"Jimmy is really turning into a very good NBA player here early in his career,'' Wade said. "His confidence level is very high, and they believe in him. He's not only knocking down shots, he's getting to the paint.

"Rebounding the ball, he's down there. He's guarding big guys. He's guarded LeBron in the post, in the paint. He's got good height. He's a solid player. I think he's probably better than a lot of people thought he was going to be this early in his career.''

Butler received a little assistance. He consulted with ailing teammate Luol Deng, who missed his second consecutive game because of an illness. Deng is typically the one responsible for checking James.

"I talked to Lu before the game,'' Butler said. "And he was just like, 'Take up his space. Make everything tough for him. Challenge every shot.' And, of course, no layups.