Bill Smith/Chicago Bulls
Bulls cooled off by Heat 89-84
4th quarter execution
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By Sam Smith | 1.25.2015 | 9:25 p.m.
The Bulls offense went flat with one field goal in the last 4:50 and the Miami Heat rumbled ahead and defeated the Bulls 89-84.
The Bulls earlier had lost Derrick Rose for the second half with what was described as a back and hamstring issue.
The Bulls fell to 25-19 as they leave on a seven-game road trip mostly in the Western Conference. Miami is 24-21.
Pau Gasol led the Bulls with 19 points and 17 rebounds. Nikola Mirotic had 15 points off the bench and Aaron Brooks 13 while Jimmy Butler also had 13 points. Dwyane Wade led Miami with 28 points and Chris Bosh added 18 as the Bulls last field goal in a stagnant close came with 4:50 left in the game.
The Bulls were still without Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah and Mike Dunleavy, though there were indications from coach Fred Hoiberg that Dunleavy could play toward the end of the upcoming road trip. It was a big start for Gasol coming off his 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists against the Cavs. Gasol had a double/double with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the first quarter and a hustling Mirotic added six points off the bench for a 23-18 Bulls lead after one quarter. Miami got it going in the second quarter with their half court game isolating matchups to their advantage against the Bulls reserves and tied the game at 31 about four minutes into the quarter.
The teams jockeyed back and forth the remainder of the second quarter as Wade had 14 points for the Heat and Miami took a 49-47 halftime lead. The Bulls had to start Aaron Brooks in the second half with Rose going out with what the Bulls reported was a lower back/right hamstring issue. Brooks was the last remaining point guard on the roster with Hinrich and E’Twaun Moore also hurt. Though Moore is expected back soon. Brooks gave the Bulls a boost pushing the ball against the deliberate Heat for a 60-51 lead with about five minutes gone in the third quarter. Butler then took a turn at point guard later in the third quarter, though the Bulls’ highlights were Mirotic picking up a long rebound and dunking with two hands on the run and Gasol with a face up block against Amar’e Stoudemire as the Bulls led 68-61 going into the fourth quarter.
But the Bulls saw some vintage Wade, who spun and maneuvered repeatedly inside for scores as Miami eased back within 73-69 with 8:40 left in the game. The Bulls couldn’t make much happen down the stretch without Rose, missing eight of 11 shots in a late stretch and falling behind Miami 84-82 with 2:14 left.