Even without James, Heat tough on Bulls
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The Heat’s Chris Bosh grabs a rebound over the Bulls’ Carlos Boozer during the second half Sunday, when Miami went on a 16-2 run at the end of the third quarter to pull away.
The Tom Thibodeau catchphrase of having “more than enough” doesn’t work so well when your hottest scorer goes 0-for-10 from the field.
Guard D.J. Augustin, after hitting 16 of 24 attempts from 3-point range in the previous five games, couldn’t hit a shot and the Bulls’ offense sputtered to a halt in the second half Sunday at Miami.
LeBron James sat out to rest a broken nose, and the Bulls seemed ready to take advantage when they led 50-49 with 5:20 left in the third quarter. The rest of the game was all Heat, though, and the Bulls’ five-game winning streak ended with a convincing 93-79 loss.
“It doesn’t matter if LeBron’s out,” coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after the game. “They’re a good team. That team has other players. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade — those are all-stars, too. The bench is deep. That’s a championship team.”
Jimmy Butler also sat out with a bruised rib, suffered in Friday’s win over Denver. He’s listed as day to day, which means he’s still questionable for Tuesday’s game in Atlanta.
Miami is one of the league’s worst rebounding teams, so Joakim Noah (20 points, 15 rebounds, 4 blocks) and Taj Gibson (20 points, 10 rebounds) exploited the lack of interior defense.
But not much else worked for the Bulls. They shot 35.8 percent from the field and went 6-for-21 from 3-point range. Besides Augustin’s 0-for-10 night, rookie Tony Snell, starting for Butler, made 2 of 10 shots.
Their worst stat of the day, though, was committing 24-second violations seven times.
“We weren’t playing with a good enough thrust,” Kirk Hinrich said. “We were slow getting into our stuff. We didn’t make quick decisions, and we got stuck fighting the clock.”
After the Bulls went ahead 50-49 on a pair of Carlos Boozer free throws, Miami finished the third quarter on a 16-2 run. Then Michael Beasley opened the fourth is a 3-pointer to boost the lead to 16.
After scoring 24 points in the first quarter, the Bulls managed just 28 in the second and third combined.
“I don’t care about missed shots,” Noah said in the locker room, according to espn.com. “When we play the Miami Heat, our intensity has to be high the whole time. To me, that’s what’s disappointing.
“Those guys ended our seasons a lot. You’ve got to hate playing these guys, and our intensity has to be, every time we play them, our intensity has to be high. We did it in spurts. It wasn’t good the whole time, and that’s what’s disappointing.”
Bosh led Miami with 28 points, while Dwyane Wade scored 23. The Heat started often-injured center Greg Oden in James’ place. It was Oden’s first start since Dec. 5, 2009, and created a rematch, of sorts, from the 2007 NCAA title game when Noah’s Florida Gators defeated Oden and Ohio State. Oden had 5 points and 5 rebounds in 13 minutes against the Bulls.
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