The Chicago Bulls have had an extreme hatred for the Miami Heat ever since LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh came together in 2010. The Bulls had a good offseason that year by signing Carlos Boozer, but all anyone could talk about was how Miami would dominate the basketball world and nobody else had a chance. Since then, Chicago plays at a much different level when they face the Heat than they do when they play anybody else.
During the 2010-11 season they finished in first place in the Eastern Conference and proved to be a terrible size mismatch for Miami. However, in the Eastern Conference Finals, Miami won 4-1 and advanced to the NBA Finals. The Bulls finished first in the East again in the 2011-12 season, but a torn ACL from Derrick Rose left them short handed and they were eliminated in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers.
With Rose missing all of the 2012-13 season, Chicago relied more on their front court with Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah and were able to advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs for a date with Miami. They upset the Heat in the first game with great performances by Nate Robinson and Jimmy Butler, but that would be their only win. Miami beat Chicago 4-1 again en route to their second straight NBA title.
With Rose coming back, Chicago was ready to make another run at the NBA title heading into this season. Unfortunately for Chicago, Rose hurt his other knee and will likely miss the season again. Everyone is counting them out of the title picture, but they still provide a terrible matchup for Miami.
In their first meeting of the season without Rose, Chicago got back to what they do best. They rebounded, played defense and dominated inside the paint to win the game 107-87. The trio of Noah, Boozer and Taj Gibson combined for 63 points, 30 rebounds and shot 24-for-38. Miami as a team were outrebounded 49-27 and were outscored in the paint 44-34. Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem both played center on Thursday and combined to go 4-for-14 with 11 points and six rebounds.
While the Heat played shorthanded without Wade, Chris Andersen and Greg Oden, Chicago continues to provide the same challenge in the regular season that they always have. They play as hard as they can every game which teams usually don’t match during the regular seasons but it wears them out for the postseason. Miami is not worried about Chicago come playoff time, but embarrassing losses like this do nothing except give confidence to Chicago.