The Bulls managed to pull out a victory over the Heat in Chicago last night. Despite his recent ankle injury, Derrick Rose was back in the starting lineup of the Bulls. The reigning MVP has missed a lot of games this season, and his rust definitely showed in this game.
Early and throughout the game Rose was looking for his shot, trying to shake off the rust. It was clear that he still wasn’t 100% healthy, as he rarely drove to the basket and looked for contact. Rose shot 1 of 13 from the field, most of these attempts being pull up jumpers.
The Heat got off to a great start going up 10-2, as LeBron James was clearly in attack mode. The Heat seemed to control the pace, as Rose and the Bulls were struggling with their offense early.
The game started turning around when the second units of both teams came on. During the first stretch of the 2nd quarter Miami’s bench shot 1 of 11, as the team couldn’t find any offense without Wade and James on the floor. C.J. Watson, who has been great in Rose’s absence, was playing extremely well, and Kyle Korver’s shooting helped the Bulls take the lead.
At the end of the game, Miami seemed to be in control as the Heat were holding onto a 2 point lead, and LeBron got fouled. He split the free throws to give Miami a 3 point edge, but the Bulls would have a chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer. Off the timeout, Tom Thibodeau opted to keep the cold Derrick Rose on the bench, and leave C.J. Watson out on the floor. Off the inbound the ball ended up in Kyle Korver’s hands, who instantly got double teamed. Korver found Boozer, who quickly kicked the ball out to the corner to an open Watson. Dwyane Wade was very quick to close out on Watson, but he managed to pump fake, and create just a little bit of space to get a shot off, and drained it.
Dwyane Wade would get a chance to hit the game winner, but Omer Asik contested his shot very well, forcing him into a tough fade-away which came up short.
In the overtime the Heat only managed to score 2 points and ended up losing by 10.
After the game Coach Spoelstra told the media:
“It’s tough…And you reach these moments at times where you feel like you’re putting so much into it collectively and you can’t get over the hump.”
Clearly the difference in the game was the Bulls’ bench. The reserves for Chicago outscored Miami’s bench 47-7, to give them a big lift. LeBron James had 30 points, while Bosh and Wade added 20 and 21 respectively, but the rest of the team only contributed with 15 points combined.
Kyle Korver and C.J. Watson scored 17 and 16 points each, while Carlos Boozer lead the team with 19 points and 11 rebounds. While going scoreless, Omer Asik came up with several big defensive plays to really help the Bulls.
With this loss Miami is now 4 games behind the Bulls, and it seems like the Heat will have to be satisfied with the second seed going into the playoffs.