Bulls 106, Heat 102 — FINAL
Revenge was had in more then one way Wedensday night in the United Center as the Bulls rolled the Heat for their second straight win of the week.
Without Derrick Rose, JohnLucas III exploded on the Heat going for 24 points on the night, electrifying the Bulls offense and guiding Chicago to their first win over the Heat all year long.
Even though C.J. Watson go the start over the injured Rose (and had a repeatable night as well) it was Lucas and his ferocity that really energized Chicago. Joakim Noah, Ronnie Brewer and Luol Deng all went into the double digits in scoring, with Taj Gibson leading the way rebounding with 8 boards, 4 offensive and 4 defensive.
It wasn’t an easy game, but the Bulls were able to handle the Heat traps and keep Miami at a distance for much of the fourth quarter, with Lucas –no surprise– leading the way. However, with the Heat within four with under 0:20 left, Noah grabbed the Bulls 14th offensive rebound which allowed Kyle Korver to be fouled and nail two free throws extending the lead to 6.
The Heat made it interesting, hitting back to back threes with under 0:15 left, but four free throws from Kyle Korver and a pair from Lucas kept the Heat at bay.
“I didn’t wanna let my teammates down,” said Lucas. “It was time to step up. The captain went down. Whenever the opportunity comes take it.”
In the final minutes, the Heat moved LeBron James to cover Lucas, and Lucas responded by floating a dagger over his head in retaliation for the posterizing dunk in the first meeting between these teams.
“They put him in front of me, I’m still going to stay aggressive.”
It was the epitome of a complete team effort in Chicago. Before the game when Derrick Rose was announced as out, there seemed to be a cloud cast over the United Center, but the Bulls remembered what the knee jerk critics said when they fell to the Celtics without Rose. It hurt the ego of the rest of the guys on the team because they know they’re a solid basketball team.
There was no better stage to flex their Rose-less muscles then on national television against the favorites to emerge from the East.
Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah did not have good nights by their standards, Derrick Rose was out and didn’t dress but somehow the Bulls still managed to knock off the Heat.
We shouldn’t act that surprised that this happened. This is a solid basketball team that goes beyond Rose’s talents. John Lucas III showed that the job can be done and he capitalized on his opportunity with the performance he had. If there was any doubt about how good this team is, that was answered swiftly in Chicago. Last time there was no Deng, and everyone said that had Deng played, the outcome would have been different.
Well we never would have imagined that that would have been the case without Rose. Deng played, the outcome was different but the meaning is more intense now. It was said pregame that this game didn’t have the muster of a playoff matchup but almost as much was won in that the Bulls now have an unshakeable swagger and unbreakable confidence in themselves when Rose is not on the court which has been their biggest knock.
This team is alive and dangerous and that’s bad news for the rest of the NBA.