After managing to salvage their road trip with a win at Utah on Friday, Miami returned home to face their longtime rival Chicago Bulls. However, a few hours before the game, it was announced that Chris Bosh would miss his first game of the season with a calf strain. In addition, Josh McRoberts would miss his 3rd consecutive game after a hard fall sustained at the end of Miami's victory in Phoenix. This would prove to be too much to overcome and Miami would fall to 11-13 thanks to a stout Chicago defense and Miami's lack of depth and continuity on display with the injuries they've dealt with.
Miami's shorthanded frontcourt was left to deal with a formidable Chicago frontline (even with Joakim Noah sidelined). While Justin Hamilton started alongside Udonis Haslem, the recently benched Shawne Williams and Chris Andersen, who was returning after missing nine games with his own injury, manned a lot of the minutes in the frontcourt. Unfortunately, they were all largely ineffective and Miami struggled both on the perimeter and inside to generate any offense.
Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng led Miami with 17 points apiece, but Wade registered zero assists and six turnovers and both players combined to shoot 13-32 from the field. The HEAT also managed double figures from Justin Hamilton (10), Mario Chalmers (11), and Norris Cole (10), but none of the players mentioned shot better than 45% and Miami collectively was a season-worst 35% from the field and 18% from three (4-22).
The Bulls were as sluggish as Miami early in the game before pulling away a bit at halftime, taking a 39-32 lead into the locker room before blowing the lid open in the 3rd quarter. Their led ballooned to 26 and were led by Mike Dunleavy Jr, who had 19 of his team leading 22 points in a 3rd quarter shooting barrage (4-5 from three).
Miami would play reasonably well in the 4th quarter, but it was far too late for a team that mustered 18, 14, and 16 points their first three quarters. Derrick Rose, who himself struggled through three quarters, managed 11 4th quarter points and helped put Miami away. Lately, the third quarter has become a significant issue, with Miami coming out flat and turning competitive games into blowouts.
Regarding Chris Bosh's future availability, the news doesn't sound particularly good based on this tweet from the Miami Herald's Joseph Goodman
Sounds like Chris Bosh could be out a while. Called injury wear and tear.— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) December 15, 2014
Miami will take on the Brooklyn Nets in Brooklyn on Tuesday at 7:00 PM before a season-long seven game homestand, which may hold huge significance in the direction Miami's season ends up going. Right now Miami sits at 4-7 at home.