The Chicago Bulls fought until the end and controlled the game when it mattered most, in overtime, to capture a 95-88 win over the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon at the United Center.
Once the game began, it was immediately evident that this would be the typical Bulls-Heat game. The energy, toughness, will to fight and do whatever it takes to win was there.
The Heat had five turnovers with 5:47 left in the first quarter, but they were only down 12-10 at that point. The turnovers, however, really allowed the Bulls to come back from an early deficit. Chicago would then go on to take the 21-19 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Miami was able to make a comeback in the second quarter, though. Norris Cole and Dwyane Wade both got going offensively to get the Heat within one point of a tie. A jump shot from Mike Dunleavy and a three from D.J. Augustin solidified the Bulls’ lead for a couple of possessions.
Soon afterwards, Jimmy Butler and LeBron James got tangled up after fighting for a loose ball, and each received technical fouls for their actions.
The remainder of the half featured the Heat’s 15-2 run, which left the Bulls with a 43-37 deficit going into halftime.
Chicago remained behind for the entire third quarter, but the Bulls showed signs of turning it around. Midway through the period, the Heat only held a four-point lead. The problem, though, is the Bulls went through a bit of an offensive drought again. James’s seven-point scoring run to end the quarter hurt Chicago even more. This left Miami ahead 67-59 heading into the fourth quarter.
It became a close game after the Bulls made a comeback to start the fourth. The Heat were held to seven points in the first half of the period. Augustin led Chicago to tie the score. Both teams maintained their defense, but neither could make a run to maintain their lead.
Butler made a key stop at the end of regulation. He knocked the ball away from James, and as a result, the game remained tied and headed into overtime. It was all Chicago from that point on.
A 6-0 run by the Bulls opened overtime, which prompted Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra to call a timeout. It didn’t help, though. Chicago scored three more points while Miami was left scoreless in the extra period. It wasn’t until the 1:24 mark of overtime that the Heat scored, which came off a layup from James, but it was too late. The Bulls had a seven-point lead, and the Heat couldn’t produce anything else.
Joakim Noah led the way with a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds to go along with seven assists and five blocks. Jimmy Butler also had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, but he also added four steals and one block. Augustin contributed 22 points off the bench.
The Bulls, now 35-28, will continue their home stand against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday at 7 p.m. central.