Despite being without Derrick Rose, the Bulls still managed to impose their will on the Heat and send them to their second straight loss. Despite a late run spearheaded by Michael Beasley, the Heat were just flat out dominated the entire night.
The Heat found themselves down 14 at halftime and down 22 heading into the fourth quarter. Without an ill Dwyane Wade and an absent Chris Andersen, the Heat weren't ready to battle with the scruffy Bulls, who were very excited about their December regular season win over the Heat.
The Bulls, now 8-9, have had great success against the Heat in the regular season but have lost 8 of 10 playoff games against the Heat over the past 3 seasons. In this one, the Bulls did a lot of things well, and Miami not so much. Chicago started the game off hitting their first six three-pointers and finished the game making 10-19.
Chris Bosh didn't contribute much with Wade being out, scoring only 10 points and grabbing only 2 rebounds. He was routinely beat by Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer to rebounds and it became apparent that Bosh wasn't ready to battle inside in this one. No one else stepped up for Miami. Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem - nobody stepped up and had a good performance. Chalmers with foul trouble only played 14 minutes.
And Chicago did what they usually do against Miami, they dominated the paint. They scored 44 points in the paint. And more importantly than that, the Bulls had a rebounding advantage of 22 (49-27). Joakim Noah led the way with 15 rebounds. Miami can't recover from a disadvantage like that, and it was like they weren't engaged in it.
There weren't many bright spots for the Heat in this one. Of anything, it could be that Beasley continues to play good basketball. He had a few lapses defensively where Taj Gibson made him look like the young Mike, but other than that he was what we have been seeing from him. Beasley had 15 points and 7 rebounds.
It was clear the Bulls were getting the Bulls best punch. The Bulls have been struggling, but tonight they gave everything they had to beat Miami. They were efficient and dominant. LeBron James led Miami with 21 points. Norris Cole had 12 points and 6 assists as well.
The Heat play in Minnesota on Saturday night.