Well, it’s certainly no secret that the Bulls and the Heat matched up on Thursday night. After the way these two teams played each other all season last year, in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, and in their three games so far this year, this was probably one of the most highly anticipated match-ups for fans of both teams, and NBA fans in general.
There was more than a playoff atmosphere in the air during this 83-72 Miami Heat victory. It almost felt like a Finals game. A lot of intensity, a lot of hard fouls, a lot of technicals, and an ejection. But in the end, Lebron James and the Heat were too much to handle for the Ross-less Bulls.
For the Bulls, their biggest problem was trying to contain Lebron. He averages roughly 30 points per game against the Bulls, and in this one, ended up with 27. They had much better luck with Wade, keeping him at 5 points under his season average at 18.
Not only was Lebron pretty much scoring at will, but the best rebounding team in the league, the Bulls, got out rebounded by the Heat by 5 boards.
And then we come to what was the nail in the Bulls’ coffin. They wound up shooting a very bleak 35% from the field and 12% from the three point line. John Lucas made two of the Bulls overall sixteen three point attempts. Like the old saying goes, you either live by the three or die by the three, and the Bulls definitely got murdered by the three tonight.
Noah had things going tonight, with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He was also at the center of James Jones’ ejection. While waiting for a shot to come down, James Jones decided it was a good idea to shove Noah right near the face area, and was ejected with a flagrant two.
Later on in the game, Rip Hamilton, who has had a hot hand lately, managed to get in a scuffle with Dwayne Wade drawing a double technical. Hamilton gave a little shove to clear some space between him and Wade, and Wade decided it would be fun to plow Rip over. Okay. Not sure what made that different from James Jones’ flagrant two, but whatever. Rip wound up with only 6 points.
And our last scuffle comes at the hands of little John Lucas. Lucas was playing defense in the backcourt, guarding his defender all the way up to the half court line, when he collided with Lebron who had set a hard pick. It wasn’t as hard as the pick he set for CJ Watson in last week’s game, but it was close. After Lucas got up, he immediately went over to James and got in his face. Lebron shoved Lucas away, and we got ourselves another double technical. Lucas was the Bulls’ leading scorer with 16 points off the bench.
No one else off the bench for the Bulls really sparked much offense. Gibson wound up with 9 points in 25 minutes, meanwhile Kyle Korver went 0-4.
With tonight’s loss, the Bulls will need to win out to guarantee they hold on to that top spot in the Eastern Conference. They have games against the Mavericks, Pacers and Cavaliers left. Their next game with the Mavericks is at home on Saturday at 7:00pm on ESPN and WGN.
(Rose update: During the game we found out that his foot injury was from having his ankle wrapped up too tightly in the Pistons game and actually cutting off circulation to his foot.)