Miami Saturday made the Bulls sweat. But the incandescence of Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler was too hot for Miami and the Bulls hung on for a 105-100 victory over the Heat.
Miami had a chance to tie the game with a three with under 10 seconds left. But Goran Dragic committed a turnover on an attempted dribble handoff. Butler then was fouled and made two free throws. Butler led the Bulls with 31 points and Wade had 28. The only other Bulls player in double figures was Taj Gibson with 13 points.
The Bulls moved to 13-10 while Miami fell to 7-17 with its fifth consecutive loss. The Bulls host Minnesota Tuesday.
It was a game in which the Bulls were looking to take advantage of a Miami team playing its fourth game in five nights, the last three in a row and coming in with four consecutive losses. Plus, the Heat had several regulars out, including Justise Winslow and Dion Waiters. And, of course, Chris Bosh out for the season. It was Wade’s first Chicago game against his former team after the Bulls win in Miami last month. The Bulls shot well to start, but couldn’t limit Hassan Whiteside, who had nine points as Heat took a 16-15 lead through seven minutes. It was a relatively unaggressive Bulls team that shared six lead changes and four ties with Miami in the first period as the Bulls took a 29-27 lead after one on a Nikola Mirotic three. Butler matched Whiteside with 11 points. The Bulls couldn’t shake Miami, continuing to exchange leads throughout the second quarter as first Miami went ahead 31-29, then the Bulls ahead 41-37 and Miami taking a 53-49 lead with 1:33 left in the half on a run out layup for nine straight points. It was tied at 55 at halftime. There were 21 lead changes or ties in the half as Whiteside had 16 points and Dragic 15. Butler had 13 and Wade 11. Dragic led Miami with 21 for the game.
After Miami started the second half with a three, the Bulls went on an 18-2 run led by 11 points from former Heat Wade, who split the defense for a driving dunk and three-point play that led the Bulls to a 73-60 lead a little over five minutes into the half. Wade remained determined not to lose to his former team and with his 11 third quarter points the Bulls went into the fourth quarter leading 83-75. The Bulls eased out to an 89-79 lead on a brilliant Wade rebound and three quarter court pass to Mirotic for a layup. But Miami continued to push back into the game, trailing just 93-89 with six minutes left in the game before missing a pair of free throws and a tip in afterward that could have tied the game. Miami then pulled within 97-96 on a Tyler Johnson three with 4:20 left. Butler gave the Bulls some space with a pair of strong driving scores.