(Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel)]
The Miami HEAT dropped their second straight game, losing 107-87 to the Chicago Bulls Thursday night at the United Center. The HEAT dug themselves into an early hole and were never able to climb out. Their four-game road trip continues on Saturday.
Impact Performance of the Night: Carlos Boozer set the tone for the Chicago Bulls, scoring 19 points in the first half against the Miami HEAT. Boozer finished with 27 points and nine rebounds, his second strong performance against the HEAT in as many games. Miami had no answer Boozer on the block and couldn’t keep him off the offensive glass.
The Deciding Run: The Bulls opened the second quarter with a 22-10 run to give themselves a 19-point lead. Chicago couldn’t miss from deep and was dominating Miami on the glass. While the HEAT were able to make a couple of runs to make things interesting, they were never able to close the gap to within single digits again.
Play of the Game: The game was probably already over, but Luol Deng knocked down a contested three-pointer with 3:58 to go to end what had been a nice run from the HEAT. Miami had been chipping away at the Chicago lead, but missed three shots one possession then had Deng nail the three-pointer. It was the ultimate dagger in a game that was never really close.
Efficiency Rating: Offensive Efficiency: 96.1; Defensive Efficiency: 116.2
Trend to Watch: The HEAT really struggled on the defensive glass against the Bulls. It’s not something new, as Chicago has done this to Miami before. Still, the Bulls scored 24 second chance points, which really hurt the HEAT. It seemed that every time the HEAT got a stop, they couldn’t secure the board and the ball ended up going in the basket. There were a lot of things happening that led to the offensive rebounds. There were missed boxouts, but on a lot of the Bulls offensive rebounds the HEAT were out of position after being forced to help on penetration. With Chris Bosh, Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem having to help off of their men, the glass was left exposed. Miami has had issues like this in the past and have found ways to get around them. A recent rebounding issue popped up last December and by February it was a non-issue. With games against Minnesota, Detroit and Indiana coming up, it will be interesting to see how the HEAT fare on the glass.
The Takeaway: Take one look at the stat sheet if you want to, crumple it up and toss it into the garbage can sitting next to your desk. The HEAT got beat up on a night where they were missing Dwyane Wade and Chris Andersen, two huge pieces of the team’s rebounding puzzle. Chicago played great and Miami struggled for extended portions of the night. Losses like this happen every year and when the playoffs roll around, they are quickly forgotten. Last season the HEAT lost four games by 18 points or more. Three of those games came on the road against an opponent who got hot from three-point range. Tonight’s loss happened, and lessons can be learned from it, but it’s not something to dwell on as the season moves forward.
Notes: LeBron James finished with 21 points and five rebounds. Michael Beasley added 15 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Dwyane Wade and Greg Oden were inactive.