The Bulls Tuesday went to Miami and ended up with too much Heat.
That’s because a nimble and agile Miami Heat offense singed the Bulls in a fast paced and efficient 129-111 victory.
The Bulls were led by Derrick Rose with 17 points, Aaron Brooks with 16 points and Pau Gasol with 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Seven Bulls scored in double figures. The Heat were led by Hassan Whiteside with 26 points and 14 rebounds off the bench, Joe Johnson with 24 and Luol Deng with 20.
The Heat set a Bulls alltime opponent record shooting 67.5 percent.
The Bulls fell to 30-29 with their third straight loss and eighth in the last 11. Miami is 34-26 and leading their Southeast Division. The Bulls also fell to ninth in the Eastern Conference standing with a game in Orlando Wednesday.
Rose played the first six minutes with a pair of free throws and a fancy scoop layup that brought back the aaahs, but for Bulls to start it was Gasol taking advantage of a mismatch with former Bull Deng defending Gasol. Gasol scored the Bulls first three baskets, but before the Bulls could check the scoreboard the Heat with Goran Dragic were streaking the other was in a wide open first quarter that the Heat lead 36-30. Deng had eight points and Dragic five first quarter assists as Miami sped ahead 28-19. The Bulls got a boost from Bobby Portis off the bench to close, though Miami shot 64 percent. The Bulls shot 54 percent and trailed by six.
It’s unexpected to see Miami as a fast break team after all the success with LeBron James and a controlled game. But with Chris Bosh out with a recurrence of blood clots, Miami has gone more toward Dragic pushing the ball and quicker shots. They jumped on the Bulls to start the second quarter with a 43-34 lead. Rose then returned with about 10 minutes remaining, scoring on consecutive drives and getting to the free throw line for a pair of shots with a third. Miami continued to attack the basket with an unfamiliar frenzy, but Rose’s presence enabled the Bulls to stay in the game as Rose exploded the other way in the two-way track meet. Rose then found E’Twaun Moore in the corner for a three and got Dunleavy a layup on a two-on-one break. And when Moore added another three after a Gibson steal, the Bulls were within 58-56 with 2:46 left in a free-for-all first half. Gibson led the Bulls with 13 in the first half, often battling with Deng who is now playing a lot of power forward for Miami. The Heat led 65-62 at halftime. Deng also had 13 and Whiteside came off the bench for 12 points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes.
Miami continued to be hot as the second half began with scores in their first six possessions as Deng and Johnson made threes of quick ball movement, penetration and passing. The Bulls matched it to start with a Dunleavy three and Rose drive, but Miami continued their vigorous play and took an 80-71 lead with 7:12 left in the third quarter. Miami then hit the Bulls with a 9-0 run with Johnson overpowering Bulls defenders, who weren’t enough for Johnson without Jimmy Butler. Johnson had 11 in the quarter. It’s possible Butler could return Saturday or Monday. Miami went into the fourth quarter leading 95-82. The Bulls got a setback in the quarter as Gibson went out with a hamstring issue midway through the quarter.
It looked over when Miami surged to 103-84 early in the fourth quarter after a Deng three. But the recently slumping Aaron Brooks led a Bulls charge with a pair of threes. Portis and Justin Holiday, staying in the game late in the fourth, contributed threes and suddenly it was a tight contest with the Bulls within 108-102 with 5:14 left. Miami then scored eight straight to avoid the threat.