Notebook: Heat 105, Bulls 93

Posted Apr 14, 2013 5:16 PM

Zachary Paul, for

THE FACTS: It was supposed to be nothing more than a pair of teams fine-tuning before the postseason.

It turned into yet another physical, highly-competitive game between the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls. This time, it was the Heat landing more blows in a 105-93 victory Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The win allowed the Heat to even the season series at two. LeBron James led the way with 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Guard Dwyane Wade finished with 22 points on 7 of 12 shooting. It was likely the last regular-season appearance for either player.

The Heat led by as many as 15 in the first half before the Bulls climbed back into it in the third quarter. Chicago never led in the second half but pulled to within one at the halfway point of the quarter. It was then when James, Wade and Chris Bosh took control, but it was more than just the All-Stars.

The Heat had six players in double-figures, led by a season-high 15 points by reserve center Chris Andersen. Forward Luol Deng led the Bulls with 19 points.

QUOTABLE: "Other than those turnovers that we had, that was probably one of our better offensive games against Chicago this season. Obviously they're dealing with a great deal of adversity, with guys out of the lineup but we're still working on habits."
-- Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

THE STAT: The Heat held the Bulls to 35 percent shooting from the field.

TURNING POINT: After the Bulls trimmed the lead to 65-64 midway through the third quarter, the Heat went on a 13-4 run. The Big Three scored 10 of the 13 points during the stretch.

QUOTABLE II: "It was a winnable game for us. The Miami Heat are a great team so you have to give them credit. We had a couple of tough plays where we had bad body positioning but even in the fourth quarter we were right there."

-- Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

HOT: It was fitting James and Wade shot the same field goal percentage in what is likely their final regular-season game. Efficiency has been their motto all year. They both turned in yet another game where they shot higher than 50 percent from the field.

NOT: The Bulls' three-guard combination of Kirk Hinrich, Marco Belinelli and Jimmy Butler were ineffective for the most part, combining for 34 points but on just 7 of 27 shooting. The only production the Bulls got from the backcourt was a second-quarter outburst from Nate Robinson.

GOOD MOVE: Before the game, Spoelstra said he would play James and Wade reduced minutes. For a second straight game, both played at least 30 minutes. This was their last chance to improve rhythm before the postseason. With both ruled out for Monday's game, Spoelstra said he had no problem playing them longer than anticipated.

BAD MOVE: The Bulls committed a pair of fouls on one possession that could have resulted in an injury. Carlos Boozer lowered his shoulder while fouling Wade on a fastbreak. Wade was able to get off an alley-oop pass to James, who was pushed from behind by Robinson. Boozer was whistled for a clear-path foul.

NOTABLE: Miami was without forwards Shane Battier (knee) and Udonis Haslem (ankle). Neither are expected to play Monday against Cleveland. Mike Miller started in place of Haslem versus the Bulls. The Heat improved to 36-4 at home ... Forward Taj Gibson (knee) did not play against the Heat.

UP NEXT: For the Heat, Monday @ Cavaliers, Wednesday @ Magic. For the Bulls, Monday @ Magic, Wednesday vs. Wizards.