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Bulls use big third quarter to pull away from Heat

Bulls improve to 15-8 on the season

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By Sam Smith | 12.14.2014 | 7:27 p.m. CT

The Bulls Sunday shook off a lethargic start to pull away from the Miami Heat for a 93-75 victory. The win gave the Bulls a 15-8 record and 11-3 on the road heading into Atlanta Monday.

Mike Dunleavy with a blazing third quarter when the Bulls pulled away led the way with 22 points while Jimmy Butler also coming on late had 17 and Taj Gibson 15 points and nine rebounds. Former Bull Luol Deng led Miami with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Dwyane Wade also had 17 points.

The Bulls opened like they were enriched by the Miami sun with a 10-2 start as Gibson and Pau Gasol powered over and inside the Heat’s diminished front line with Chris Bosh out injured. But the vitamin D that comes with the sun was more in Heat D as the Bulls offense went cold. Though the Heat do not blitz the pick and roll like they did with LeBron James to cause so many turnovers, they still play tough position defense and are adept overplaying inside and slapping at the ball. It resulted in four consecutive Bulls turnovers to end the first quarter with Miami leading 18-14. Then the Bulls opened the second quarter with three consecutive turnovers before Aaron Brooks made a pair of threes in transition without trying to pass to anyone and a runner to give the Bulls a 22-20 lead four minutes into the second quarter. The Bulls then leaned on Gasol late to take a 39-32 halftime lead as Derrick Rose had a quiet first half with three points. The Bulls, certainly Dunleavy, finally seemed to wake up as Dunleavy scored 19 third quarter points after he was scoreless in the first half and the Bulls pulled away to lead 72-48 after three quarters.

Observations:

1. Derrick Rose stayed back to open this game as the Bulls sought more to exploit the Heat’s interior. It was a good plan, though not all plans that make sense work out. Rose ended with 14 points after three in the first half as the Bulls pulled away after halftime. Wade made a point to greet Rose after the game and the two spoke for a few minutes.

2. It was a nice matchup of buddies as while Butler defended Wade, Deng defended Butler. Deng was a mentor to Butler and showed Butler why he makes it so difficult for players to score with one of six shooting first half. Butler ended four of 10.

3. The warm weather can loosen up some muscles as Mike Dunleavy got his stroke going with a monster 19-point third quarter as he hit seven of eight and three of three three pointers to lead the team in scoring.