Heat takes advantage of ice-cold Bulls
Maybe it only seems like the Bulls have been able to dominate fourth quarters all season.
So it was a bit of a surprise to a soldout crowd at the United Center when they fought back to tie the Miami Heat midway through the fourth quarter but then fizzled late, failing to close the deal in an 85-75 loss.
The fans weren't the only ones who were surprised.
"In the past, the fourth quarter has always been our best quarter," guard Kyle Korver said. "We started off really well, but in the end we didn't get really great looks, and the ones that we did, they went in and out."
"We brought some great energy, came back from a big margin late, but the ball just didn't bounce our way," said Taj Gibson, who scored 8 of the Bulls' 10 fourth quarter points. "But late in the quarter they just made tough shots.'
And the Bulls didn't.
Aside from Gibson, the Bulls put on a doinkfest from the field most of the evening, shooting an anemic 34 percent from the field. It was even worse in the fourth where they closed by shooting 4-for-16, including an 0-for-3 performance from Korver -- who finished the night 1-for-7 from the field, including 1-for-5 from 3-point land.
"It's frustrating for sure," Korver said. "The ball goes in and out and off the back of the rim ... but that's what happens in basketball sometimes."
Even Derrick Rose wasn't immune. Rose finished just 7-for-23 from the field.
"We're not worried about missed shots," said Luol Deng, whose 9 first-quarter points, including a buzzer beater from beyond half-court propelled the Bulls to a 26-19 lead. "There have been games where we've missed shots and won games.
"There were other things we could've done to win that game."
One of those would have been to try and solve Miami's much-improved defense.
"You have to give them credit," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "Their defense was outstanding. Their ball pressure was great. They challenged shots. They fought us."
The Bulls know that's exactly what they're going to have to bring with them the next two games in Miami.
"We believe in each other; we believe we're a good team," Deng said. "We'll go down there and play hard. We've always done that. You never want to give up games like that. But we've been there before."
And they can't wait to get there again ... and soon.
"Trust me," Carlos Boozer said. "We would rather play right away, especially after a loss like this."