CHICAGO — With guard Derrick Rose sidelined for a second straight season, the Chicago Bulls can’t match Miami’s star power. But the Bulls have usually been able to beat the Heat on the boards.
The Bulls took full advantage of that category on Sunday afternoon by dominating the second-chance points 27-6 and posting a 95-88 overtime victory over the Heat at the United Center.
Chicago’s final rebounding edge was a modest 47-42. But the Bulls took control by opening overtime with seven second-chance points
“This is what you play basketball for. I love it,” Chicago center Joakim Noah said. “I’m having a great time, having a blast out there. Beating Miami, I don’t care if it’s the regular season, it’s always special.”
Miami (43-17) lost its third straight game overall and fell to 1-7 in regular-season games at the United Center since the start of the 2010-11 season, when Miami’s Big Three was first assembled and Tom Thibodeau became head coach of the Bulls.
Noah had a monster game, finishing with 20 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks. He also played cheerleader several times, encouraging the home fans to make noise. Guard D.J. Augustin added 22 points, while guard Jimmy Butler finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and played solid defense on forward LeBron James.
After a loss at Miami on Feb. 23, Noah said that because the Heat are the NBA’s two-time defending champion and have ended the Bulls’ season twice in the playoffs, they “have to hate playing these guys.”
Mission accomplished, apparently.
“We played with a lot of hate today … a lot of hate,” Noah joked.
Guard Dwyane Wade, a Chicago native, led Miami with 25 points. James finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, but hit just 8 of 23 shots from the field. James did not shoot any free throws, the first time that has happened in a game since 2009.
The Bulls (35-28) opened overtime with a 9-0 run. First, an offensive rebound by forward Taj Gibson led to a wide open 3-pointer from Augustin. Then a rebound by Butler extended a possession that ended with a Butler jumper. Noah ripped a rebound away from Miami center Chris Andersen and finished a layin to put the Bulls ahead 93-86.
Noah then blocked a shot by Heat guard Mario Chalmers, which led to a fast-break opportunity and two free throws by Butler. That put Chicago ahead 95-86 with 1:33 left and the game was all but over.
“It came down to possessions,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Their second-chance opportunities, they pummeled us. Not only did they get offensive rebounds, but every single time they got one they scored. Thirteen (offensive boards), that number isn’t totally outrageous, but the 27 (second-chance points) is.”
Chicago trailed by 12 points early in the fourth quarter before putting together a 13-0 run. Augustin’s 3-pointer brought the Bulls within one, then a steal and two free throws by Butler put the Bulls ahead 75-74 with 6:34 remaining.
The lead changed hands several times the rest of the way. The Bulls took an 84-82 edge when Butler knocked the ball loose from James on a drive, leading to a fast-break slam by Gibson with 2:08 left.
After the teams exchanged misses, James tied it with a reverse layup. Miami took an 86-84 lead on two Wade free throws with 29.2 seconds on the clock. A driving scoop by Chicago guard Kirk Hinrich tied the score and the Heat’s chance to win in regulation ended with Butler stripping the ball from James on a drive to the basket.
“I just dropped the ball,” James said. “I give a lot of credit to Jimmy. He got his hand on the ball. We had a lot of good opportunities to win the game, we just couldn’t finish when it came down to it.”
Miami took control with a 15-0 run late in the second quarter. The Bulls led 35-28 after a Noah free throw with 5:42 left in the second quarter. The Heat got its running game going, with fast-break buckets by center Chris Bosh and Chalmers, along with an alley-oop dunk from Chalmers to James, surrounding a 3-pointer by guard Norris Cole.
A jumper by Wade completed the run and gave Miami a 43-35 lead with 27.1 seconds left. Noah’s running hook with 2.7 seconds left in the quarter finally ended Chicago’s dry spell and made it a six-point margin at halftime.
James and Butler were hit with double technical fouls with 3:57 left in the second quarter. The two players got tangled up under the Miami basket after Butler’s deflection created a turnover. While the other players headed down court, James and Butler ended up wrestling on the floor until a referee finally intervened.
“Two competitive people trying to get up and go play basketball,” Butler said. “Whatever happened, happened. But I don’t back down, let’s just put it like that.”
Noah was given a technical foul in the third quarter as the teams headed into a timeout. Noah appeared to say something to Chalmers just before he got the technical.
NOTES: Miami F LeBron James started Sunday’s game without the protective mask on his face. James started wearing the mask after suffering a broken nose on Feb. 20 at the Oklahoma City Thunder. He took it off during Miami’s loss Thursday at the San Antonio Spurs. … James, on why he flew to Cleveland on Saturday night for the jersey retirement of former teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas: “I played eight years with Z. There’s one constant teammate that I had over the years; one constant friend I’ve had over the years.” … Bulls C Joakim Noah’s father, former tennis star Yannick Noah, was at Sunday’s game. … Teams owning four of the league’s five best records will visit Chicago during its six-game homestand. Following Miami into the United Center will be San Antonio, the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City.
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