After losing the first two, the Miami Heat dropped the final game of its three-game road trip in a 95-88 overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls Sunday afternoon.
LeBron James’ poor shooting and the Bulls bothersome defense got the best of the Heat. An energized Joakim Noah was too much more the Heat to handle. He finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, five blocks and turned the ball over just once.
Noah bothered the Heat all night, talking trash and taking advantage of second-chance opportunities.
Noah: "I had to play with a lot of hate today, a lot of hate." Evil laugh.
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) March 9, 2014
LeBron had a particularly tough outing, scoring just 17 points on 8-of-23 shooting. He had nine rebounds and eight assists, but didn’t get to the free throw line for the first time in a game since 2009.
Erik Spoelstra on Jimmy Butler covering LeBron: "They did a good job. They kept us away from our comfort areas."
— Jason Lieser (@PBPjasonlieser) March 9, 2014
Miami had a 12-point lead with just more than 10 minutes remaining, but The Bulls came roaring back, mostly on the efforts of Noah. The Bulls scored 13-straight points to take their first lead at 75-74.
The rest of the game went back-and-forth, with four lead changes in the final six minutes of regulation. At one point, Dwyane Wade, who had a team-high 25 points, put Miami ahead 86-84 with a pair of free throws with 29 seconds left.
Kirk Hinrich tied the game with a layup over Chris Bosh on the next possession.
The final play of regulation was called for LeBron, as Spoelstra is wont to do, despite his poor shooting performance. Chalmers set a high screen after a series of LeBron dribbles. Jimmy Butler, who defended LeBron all game, stripped LeBron of the ball to end the possession. The game went to overtime.
Chicago outscored Miami 9-2 in overtime to win.
Miami went 0-3 on this road trip, but have a four-game home stand coming up. They will host Washington, Brooklyn, Denver and Houston.
Luckily for the Heat, the Indiana Pacers also suffered a three-game skid and so Miami did not lose any ground for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.