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Heat snap losing streak with 103-96 road win against Bulls

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Richardson leads a total team effort to victory against the young Bulls.

NBA: Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat needed a victory, any victory, to snap out of their funk and Josh Richardson made sure of that with a 103-96 win against the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.

Richardson scored 12 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter while Whiteside added a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Coach Erik Spoelstra only went four deep from the bench despite being shorthanded again without Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson, but the reserves responded with three players scoring in double-figures. Dwyane Wade chipped in 10 points on 5-10 shooting with four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 24 minutes while Justise Winslow had a solid game with 10 points, 10 rebounds and a highlight-worthy block in the second quarter.

While Richardson may grab the attention, deservedly so, for his robust stat line and late game heroics, Bam Adebayo’s energy and drive — particularly in the second quarter — helped the Heat create separation from the Bulls with a huge 20-2 run to build a double-digit lead and limiting Chicago to just 13 points and two made field goals. Whiteside, who made his first six shots in the game benefitting from some great lobs at the rim by his teammates, also made his mark in that quarter with three blocks — making you forget about his two airballs from the charity stripe just a few minutes prior.

Though the game was essentially won with the dominant 10-minute stretch before halftime to make the score 60-39 and the lead at one point ballooning up to 26 points, the Heat wouldn’t be able to enjoy an easy win with the Bulls making a last-ditch rally in the second half and pulling to within four points four times halfway through the final quarter — with Richardson responding the final three times with huge baskets to help seal the needed victory.