Well it was fun while it lasted, but the Miami Heat's 27 game win streak was snapped by the short-handed Chicago Bulls. Playing without Derrick Rose, Richard Hamilton, Marco Belinelli, and Joakim Noah, the Bulls were able to play their grind it out defense and beat the Heat 101-97.
Miami again got off to a difficult start, falling behind by 10 after the first quarter. But the Heat were better in the second and the third, and trailed by only one heading into the final frame. The Bulls wouldn't relent, and Miami couldn't rely on anybody but LeBron James to make plays throughout the game.
Dwyane Wade, coming back from missing two games, struggled offensively scoring 18 points on 7-13 shooting. Chris Bosh started 1-6 but got some buckets throughout the way to finish with 21, but never got his jump-shot going. Nobody else scored in double figures for the Heat.
Meanwhile, the Bulls were led by Luol Deng with 28 points, and a huge game by Carlos Boozer with 21 points and 17 rebounds. The Bulls have 12 offensive rebounds and out rebounded the Heat overall by 12. In the fourth quarter, James was tired of taking some hard fouls, and gave a pre-meditated shoulder shot to Boozer that earned him a flagrant 1 foul.
They tried to come back but just didn't have enough. The margin of error was too small and a few missed shots/dunks and some questionable calls were enough to propel the Bulls to their most significant victory of the season.
For the Heat, it was 53 days since the streak began and 27 wins overall - good enough for second in NBA history. Miami has 11 games left in the regular season and needs just one win to clinch the Eastern Conference. They can now focus on rest, getting healthy, and preparing for the playoffs. All the hoopla about the streak should end soon.
Now Miami has to wonder about the Bulls going forward. They took the Bulls' best shot tonight and they were without some key players. Of course, Wade didn't play to his standard and Chris Bosh wasn't himself, but Miami will need to figure them out as they stand as a possible second round opponent.
Next up: starting a new streak Friday night in New Orleans.