The Bulls’ redemption will have to wait. The Bulls Friday pushed back, but it wasn’t enough as they lost to the Miami Heat 100-88.
The Bulls fell to 23-25 and play the 76ers Sunday before leaving for a six-game two week Western Conference road trip. Miami is 17-30.
Dwyane Wade had 15 points to lead the Bulls. Paul Zipser and Taj Gibson each had 14 points and Rajon Rondo had 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Jimmy Butler struggled with one of 13 shooting for three points. Goran Dragic had 26 for Miami and reserve center Willie Reed 20 points.
The Bulls started the game without Butler and Wade, coach Fred Hoiberg delivering punishment after their comments condemning teammates after the Wednesday loss to Atlanta. Miami was without center Hassan Whiteside. Paul Zipser and Doug McDermott started for them, but both came into the game with just over six minutes left. Though it didn’t go so well afterward. The group with Jerian Grant, Robin Lopez and Gibson had the game had the game tied at 15 and trailing 21-15 when the Bulls made the substitutions. But Miami finished a 12-0 run to lead 27-15 before Lopez made a running bank shot. By the end of the quarter, Rondo was back playing with Butler and Wade. The Bulls trailed 33-24 after one. The Bulls fought back in the second quarter with Zipser scoring seven points and Wade six off the bench. Rondo was sharp with a team high three assists and plus-12 rating for the second quarter. The Bulls shot 57 percent in the quarter to make up the deficit and tie the game at 53 at halftime.
Wade and Butler were back in as starters to open the third quarter. But even missing several regulars, Miami was playing efficiently and had won five straight entering the game. Dragic and Dion Waiters drove the ball hard at the Bulls to take a 69-62 lead midway through the third quarter. The Bulls almost seemed to be trying too hard given the events of the past few days with the public and social media comments, team meeting and fines. Miami took advantage of a brutal Bulls dry spell with eight straight missed shots, two turnovers and two missed free throws to take a 15-point lead and go into the fourth quarter leading 77-67. Both Butler and Wade were struggling, a combined five for 23 through three quarters. The Bulls started the fourth quarter adeptly with Wade and Rondo scoring. But the Heat was hot. With Dragic’s shooting and pushing the ball off turnovers, Miami raced out to a 96-79 lead with 5:21 left in the game.