True hustle means hard work and the Chicago Bulls put on a textbook display on Friday night as they served the Miami Heat with a 96-89 lashing. This was only the third loss at home for the Heat this season.
No one really gave Chicago a chance coming into this game. This was the first time that the two have faced each other this season, but it’s no secret that the Bulls have struggled playing the Heat when Derrick Rose was in the lineup. One could only imagine what it would be like with no D. Rose, not to mention the mystery that has become the Chicago scoring attack this season. Fans just hoped that it didn’t get too ugly.
One thing that must be noted about these Bulls is that they seem to play to the level of their competition. It’s amazing how the same team that lost to the lowly Charlotte Bobcats on Monday could beat the defending champs on the road in the same week. But that is exactly what happened.
The Bulls (18-13) outrebounded the Heat 48-28, including 19 offensive boards. There was actually balance in Chicago’s offensive attack in this game. Carlos Boozer continued his dominating play of late with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Joakim Noah returned to the lineup after being out sick and had 13 points and 12 boards. Kirk Hinrich did a good job managing the point and had eight assists. All praises due to Nate Robinson though, whose relentless energy was the difference maker in the fourth quarter. He had 13 points and three steals in just over 18 minutes of play.
Miami’s Big Three carried the load for the Heat, but everyone else was silenced. It was a question if LeBron James would even play because of a knee contusion, but the King was in the lineup. He finished the night with 30 points, extending his streaks of scoring at least 20 points to 31 consecutive games this season, and 52 games in a row overall when including last year’s playoff run. Dwyane Wade had 22 points and Chris Bosh added 14. Outside of the Big Three though, who will always get theirs, no other Heat player had more than six points. Now that’s how you shut ‘em down like Public Enemy.
Next up: The Bulls will host young Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers (8-26) on Monday.
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