The Miami HEAT have lost their third game in a row, this time in overtime with a 95-88 overtime decision to the relentless Chicago Bulls. In turn, the defending champions miss yet another chance to make up ground in the Eastern Conference standings with the Indiana Pacers. The Heat only managed two total points in the overtime period after a struggling LeBron James missed a chance to win the game in regulation.
Joakim Noah is very good, scary good. His leadership and defensive prowess on this shorthanded Bulls team is unparalleled, to the point that if Derrick Rose wasn't hurt the Bulls would be extremely threatening. I mention this because the comeback in today's match-up was on Noah. He was the reason the Bulls remained relentless on defense, and eventually eliminated the Heat's offensive ability in overtime. He's having his best season in terms of numbers, and has finally taken the next step towards greatness.
Miami started this game hot often sporting double digit leads,and appeared to have the game locked up at halftime while being led by an unstoppable Dwyane Wade. This was a defensive match-up, and Miami let up on the defensive end in the fourth quarter allowing Chicago back into the game (of course their 17 turnovers in regulation didn't help). Chicago, with a strong effort from Noah, James Butler, and D.J. Augustin eventually forced overtime and dominated the five extra minutes to rob Miami of a game that should have been theirs.
Yet for Miami, it wasn't all bad. Dwyane Wade was spectacular in this match-up scoring 25 points, grabbing 5 boards and dishing out 4 assists. It had been said that Wade visited Tim Grover yesterday, and it appeared to have worked as he shredded through Chicago's defense the entire first half. If this is the Wade that we'll be getting for the playoffs then it is safe to say, Miami's rare use of him in back to back match ups were justified. For LeBron James however, this marks his second sub-par game in a row. After an amazing start to the week LeBron has been significantly average in the latter half. In this match-up in particular he appeared out of transition at times, and looked to force a one on one isolation for the most part which in turn did not work in his favor. His shot hasn't been able to fall, and he looks fatigued. Perhaps his nose is still aggravating him after being re-injured by Dwight Howard? Chris Andersen was great on defense as well sporting six blocks, and being overall defensive powerhouse.
Despite the good Miami couldn't close something that hasn't necessarily been a problem for them since the first year of the big three era. They were sloppy, and out of transition. Miami's final possession of regular transition time appeared awful. LeBron was having an off game, yet for some reason remained the one to shoot the last shot. Whereas Wade, or even Bosh were hot in the entire game. There seemed to be no play drawn up, and LeBron went one on one against Butler, who had been winning their match-up the entire contest.
For Heat Nation, this loss was tough not because the Heat are on a downward trend, or even playing sloppy basketball, it's because the Bulls are despite everything are still considered a rival and that effects our squadron mentally. It also doesn't help that this stretch of losses could have been the chance to steal the top seed from Indiana. Regardless of this disappointment, expect the defending champions to bounce back tomorrow against Washington.