Tonight the Chicago Bulls took their talents to South Beach without Derrick Rose, yet the Bulls prevailed with little to no worries at all. Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer thrived off eachother’s energies and guided their teammates to the biggest win of the season over the Miami Heat.
Noah returned to the starting the lineup Friday night after missing Wednesday night’s game against the Orlando Magic. In true Tom Thibodeau fashion, early Friday morning during the team’s shoot around Tom said that Noah was a “game time decision” despite, Noah saying that he was feeling fine and was planning on starting.
Chicago improved their record to 18-13 against their bitter rivals; the Heat have been struggling as of late and that gave Chicago all the momentum they needed to capitalize on the biggest statement game of the season thus far.
In the first quarter the Bulls started off fast paced and with a 6 point lead, the energy was high and despite early shots it took the Bulls a little while to develop the tempo of the game, once they established that the game was going to be a physical battle there was no looking back. Both teams went on runs early, Miami fired up a 9-0 run, but Chicago answered right back with a 10-0 run of their own. Carlos Boozer gave his teammates a four point lead at the end of the first 26-22.
Carlos Boozer had 27 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block as he nearly matched his season high of 31 points that he accumulated Wednesday night. Boozer has absolutely dominated this road trip in Florida, clearly Boozer’s confidence has had a major pick me up. He knows exactly what he is capable of doing on the court, as long as he stays healthy moving forward this is nothing but greatness to come for the Bulls. Boozer is a vital piece for the Bulls to be successful, as the season goes on it will be interesting to see how his game pans out.
Miami outscored the Bulls by three points in the second; 26-23, though at halftime the Bulls held on to a one point lead 48-47.
It wasn’t until the third quarter when things really heated up! The physical aspect of the game was taken to a whole other level when Kirk Hinrich fouled Lebron; who arguably flopped out of bounds and into the lap of Coach Tom Thibodeau. Aside from crazy fouls, and showboating dunks courtesy of King James, the Bulls simply dominated the Heat off the glass; out rebounding them 34-14.
In the final twelve minutes of regulation the momentum shifted for a split second. Noah drew a flagrant 1 on Lebron when he grabbed James around the neck with one arm in attempt to prevent an early 4th quarter drive. That violation allowed the Heat to capitalise on a four point play.
James knocked down four consecutive free throws, the following Heat possession Lebron strides into the paint and slammed down a dunk that brought his team within a one possession game. However sadly for the Heat, they never got that close again. The Bulls’ offense had 19 offensive rebounds opposed to the Heat’s 4 offensive boards. The last offensive board by Jimmy Butler sealed the win for the Bulls, he scooped up the rebound and found an open Carlos Boozer who provided the layup, which gave the Bulls their 96-89 win.
Joakim Noah called this victory the “biggest game of the year” we all can agree that there is nothing sweeter than seeing the Bulls beat the world champions at home.
Game Notes: Chicago out rebounded the Heat 48-28. The Bulls are now 6-2 against Miami since the 2011 season. Derrick Rose was with the team again tonight, however he was M.I.A in MIA. The irony and lack of D-Rose sightings are killing us all.