Well this wasn't the defensive matchup we were expecting. The Miami Heat showed a side of themselves we are getting used -- one that scores with ease. Miami welcomed Joe Johnson to the AAA for the first time as a member of the Heat, and things went well. Joe had 24 points as the Heat won the game 129-111.
With the win, Miami stays ahead of Atlanta, who is chasing them closely, and within striking distance of the Celtics who are in 3rd in the East.
The Heat played a very good game agains the Bulls. They had a lead as large as 19 points in the second half and Miami scored the most points that they have all season. They again played an 8-man rotation but contributions from everyone as they all played significant minutes.
Joe Johnson: 24 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
Hassan Whiteside: 26 points (career-high), 14 rebounds, 4 blocks
Luol Deng: 20 points, 4 rebounds
Goran Dragic: 17 points, 11 assists (season-high)
Dwyane Wade: 18 points, 7 assists
Even Josh Richardson, Amare Stoudemire and Justise Winslow jumped into the box score in their own ways. Again, they did not play Josh McRoberts or Gerald Green. The Bulls had great contributions from Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol and even Taj Gibson before he left with a hamstring injury. Rose had 17 points in 24 minutes.
The Bulls biggest advantage was inside and they took advantage of the Heat early. Miami played Deng on Gasol and it took Luol a while to figure out how to move Gasol off the block. Whiteside played 33 minutes and chaged the game from every angle. Most notably -- he hit 10/11 free throws. Something he clearly has worked on since the All-Star break.
Wade struggled with turnovers, but Dragic and Johnson continually bailed out the Heat when the offense couldn't get what they wanted.
The Heat shot a franchise record 67.5% from the field. That's the best so far this season by any team in the NBA.
Miami next hosts Phoenix on Thursday at 7:30 PM EST.