Despite the absence of both Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade on the hardwood, the excitement for the Chicago Bulls-Miami Heat game was still very prevalent. After two straight losses, the Bulls came out with a dominant 107-87 home victory on Thursday night.
Aside from Rose (meniscus) and Jimmy Butler (turf toe), point guard Mike James also sat out the matchup against Miami with a sprained medial collateral ligament.
The Heat won the opening tip and would go on to gain a quick 4-0 lead, but Chicago was able to respond to that swiftly. Back-to-back threes from Kirk Hinrich then allowed the game to be tied at six. Hinrich would then go on to score eight of the Bulls’ first 14 points.
From that point on, the Bulls were able to maintain a good rhythm on both ends of the court. They were able to dominate the paint offensively with Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson as well as defensively with Joakim Noah’s rebounding. In fact, Noah’s 10 rebounds at halftime was more than that of the entire Heat team’s total of nine rebounds. The Bulls had a total of 27 rebounds at halftime.
Not only that, but despite being known as a bad three-point shooting team, Chicago was shooting 60 percent from behind the arc, another contributing factor in the Bulls’ 58-44 halftime lead. The only real negatives for them at this point in the game were their eight turnovers and 57.1 percent free throw shooting. Fortunately for Chicago, their success prevailed throughout the entire 48 minutes.
By continuing what they did in the first half, the Bulls were able to extend their lead to as many as 22 points in the third quarter. However, the rhythm of the game was interrupted about three minutes into the quarter when Miami’s Norris Cole elbowed Hinrich while Chicago was on the defensive end. A referee had to separate the two, and it was decided that Cole would be punished with a flagrant one foul while Hinrich ended up with a technical foul.
Miami was never able to break down the Bulls’ lead enough, but they were able to make a run in the final period thanks to Michael Beasley. Nine of the Heat’s first 16 points came from Beasley, bringing Chicago’s lead to 14 points. LeBron James returned to the game with 3:56 left in the period, but the deficit was too large to overcome at this point. James would end up back on the bench before the game came to a conclusion.
Chicago, now 8-9, ended the night shooting 50 percent from the field and 52.6 percent on threes. They also out-rebounded Miami 49-27.
Boozer had a near double-double of 27 points and nine assists. Luol Deng followed with 20 points, five rebounds, five assists and one block. Noah was able to post a double-double of 17 points and 15 rebounds.
Saturday, Dec. 7 marks the next time the Bulls will be back on the hardwood. They will host the Detroit Pistons at 7 p.m. central.