Ending the Heat’s 27-game win streak two and half weeks ago at the United Center was undoubtedly a thriller. Today in Miami, it was a bit of a different story.
The Bulls put up an effort against NBA’s best but not enough to get the same result. Defensively, they weren’t nearly as physical as their takedowns from the previous game. On the offense, they were simply out matched. Miami outscored Chicago 44-24 in the paint. Lebron James and Dwane Wade scored 24 and 22, respectively for the Heat while Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer put up 19 and 16.
The first quarter started out pretty steady and even going shot for shot as Deng drained a three and James answering right back with another. With under ten to go both teams were experiencing sequences of empty possessions.
Once they settled in the Heat took an early lead as the Bulls lacked an aggressive approach defending the basket, resulting in easy lay-ins by several players. Without a presence at the rim Chris Bosh faked and dunked to put Miami up 18-9. Although Wade didn’t hit the majority of his free-throws, Chicago committed 30 fouls which enabled the Heat to shoot a season-high of 41 from the line.
On the positive, Butler scored several second chance points on pass plays. Nate Robinson facilitated that great ball movement and continued to throughout the game, which led to several uncontested shots. Despite this, the first quarter ended with the Heat up 30-22.
The story during the second quarter was Chris Andersen as he was getting everything to go on offense and hustling just as hard on defense. Robinson and Hinrich seemed to be mirroring the defensive effort with a new energy as things became a little more aggressive. Even so, Chalmers fed the ball to James as he finished with a dunk to make it 46-31 Heat with 5:13 left in the quarter. That would be their largest lead as the bulls went on a run with the help of some turnovers from two offensive fouls by James.
Closing the gap was Robinson with a couple shots behind the arc, a fade away jumper and one off the glass to make it 56-54 going into halftime.
In the third quarter Bosh and Boozer got into some trouble as Bosh was called for a technical after continuing his words with Boozer after a foul was called. Mike Miller’s threes along with Wade and Andersen’s efforts gave Miami a 86-77 lead going into the fourth.
Approaching game’s end the Bulls were unable to make stops, but the Heat were, as Bosh and Allen made blocks to kill any sort of run Chicago was making. Miller hit a three with a minute left to keep the Bulls down ten and that would be the dagger as Miami cruised to a 105-93 victory. This would set a new franchise mark for Miami for best record at home of 36-4.