The Derrick Rose-Dwyane Wade, All-Chicago, All-Star Shootout ended with a surprising guest appearance.
After Rose rang up 34 points and 8 assists against the Miami Heat, and Wade drained an incredible 3 straight 3-pointers to give the visitors a 1-point lead in the final minute, it all came down to Kyle Korver.
Mike McGraw's game trackerStars collide: LeBron James didn't play, Chris Bosh left with a sprained ankle, but who really noticed? This game became an breathtaking duel between Chicago natives Derrick Rose (34 points) and Dwyane Wade (33 points). The Bulls barely survived Wade's 3-point assault in the final two minutes.
Supporting cast: While Rose was amazing, Kyle Korver happened to nail the game-winning shot, a 3-pointer with 25.5 seconds left. Then Ronnie Brewer came in and locked up Wade defensively during Miami's last two possessions.
MVP endorsed: Miami coach Eric Spoelstra had this to say about Derrick Rose before the game: "He's playing at an MVP level. This is the best basketball I've seen him play."
With the Bulls trailing 96-95, Rose barely missed a baseline runner and Carlos Boozer's point-blank tip rolled past the rim. Wade batted the rebound outside and it was chased down by Korver, who did what comes naturally. He squared up and drained a clutch 3-pointer that proved to be the winning basket in the Bulls' 99-96 victory over Miami at the United Center.
"Yeah, you know, sometimes it works out like that," Korver said with a laugh. "Not often, but every once in a while."
The star power wasn't quite what it could have been, but the Bulls and Heat (30-12) still put on a great show.
Miami's power trio was a solo act by the end of the night. LeBron James sat with a sprained left ankle and Chris Bosh departed late in the third quarter after getting his left ankle rolled in a collision with Bulls center Omer Asik. Boozer also appeared to turn his ankle in the final seconds.
But this game had no room for any stars beyond Rose and Wade, who finished with 33 points and 5 blocked shots.
"That's why I'm in this league. I love competing against the best," Rose said.
"It was two great players, just one great play after the next," added Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "They both have the ability to make something out of nothing."
The Bulls (27-13) led by 14 early in the second quarter before Miami used a 3-point flurry from Eddie House and Mike Miller to rally for a 53-48 halftime lead. Those two players combined to hit all 5 of their 3-point attempts in the second quarter.
After regrouping at halftime, the Bulls opened the third quarter with a 17-0 run. But again the Heat came back, this time when Bosh stopped laying bricks and scored 11 points in just over three minutes.
The Bulls' biggest lead in the fourth quarter was 6 points. A Rose runner put the home team ahead 92-87 with 1:40 left before Wade decided to take the long way home, canning tough, contested 3-pointers on three straight possessions.
Rose contributed a 3-point play during Wade's run, so the final 3-pointer put Miami up 96-95 with 37.2 seconds left.
"That's dangerous when a player makes play like that," said Bulls forward Luol Deng, who guarded Wade on the first 2 shots. "Those 3s that he hit were tough. I was right there. He has one of the best pump fakes in the game, so it keeps you on your toes."
After Rose and Boozer missed on the next possession, Korver admitted he was thinking about getting back on defense.
"I think I actually took a step backwards," Korver said. "I knew I could get it. Or I thought I could get it, so I went after it. Everyone else was flying the other way, so I was open. If I have an open 3 and my feet are set, I'll rarely pass it up."
Ronnie Brewer checked in and nearly stole the ball from Wade. The possession ended with Mario Chalmers missing a 3-pointer. After Brewer hit 1 of 2 free throws with 4.4 seconds on the clock, Wade airballed a 3-pointer with Brewer in his face.