Heat 105, Bulls 93

Miami Heat’s defense tames Chicago Bulls down the stretch

 

In a season full of records, the Heat set another one Sunday, breaking the mark for the most home wins in franchise history.

WEB VOTE What is the best free agent signing by the Miami Heat the past two seasons?

dneal@MiamiHerald.com

Other NBA locker rooms besides the Heat’s have the current analytical buzzword “efficient” in heavy rotation. It’s just that the Heat seems to be the team that can most often apply it to itself as a team and to a number of individuals.

Take Sunday’s 105-93 dumping at AmericanAirlines Arena of a short-handed (and short in height) Chicago team, Heat win No. 64 of the season.

With the win, Miami improved to 36-4 at home — besting the 35-6 mark by the 2004-05 team.

The Bulls didn’t let being without center Joakim Noah and power forward Taj Gibson keep them from physical play. Chicago made sure to earn most of its 30 fouls, a number exceeding its total field goals (29).

Still, the Heat finished shooting 51.4 percent from the field and that was after cooling off after a 62.4 percent first half. The Heat also committed only four second-half turnovers. The previous three games against the Bulls, two of which were losses, saw the Heat shoot 46.2, 50.1 and 48.1.

Mike Miller’s three-pointer with 1:17 left not only counted as benediction for this Sunday session as it put the Heat up 103-93, but also put all five Heat starters in double figures for the first time this season.

LeBron James finished with a game-high 24, and Dwyane Wade put up 22 — 12 in the third quarter — as the Heat repelled the Bulls’ last serious charge. Chris Bosh put in 12 on 6-of-8 shooting, and point guard Mario Chalmers finished with 15, including 11 in the first quarter.

“We really feel and hope that we’ve gotten better with it each month in the three years we’ve been together,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Trusting and moving the ball, getting to the other situations, allowing other people to make plays and against a team that is very good defensively, particularly on the strong side. That trust level gets tested. Guys were playing freely. We were getting the shots that we wanted.”

James, the NBA’s efficiency leader, wound up with a game-high six assists even though he uncharacteristically opened in the finisher’s role rather than setup man. James, who said assists per game is his favorite individual statistic, hit his first seven shots from the field and five shots from the line. James shoots 56.5 from the field while leading the team in assists and steals, as well as scoring.

When informed he will likely wind up leading the league in field goals made this year, James said with mild surprise, “I don’t even shoot that much. I like that stat. That’s cool.”

Chalmers said, “The biggest thing is we’re knocking down shots, from the starting five to the second starting five with Mike Miller, Rashard Lewis and Ray [Allen].”

In just a little more than 15 minutes off the bench, center Chris Andersen dropped in 15 points on perfect shooting from the field and 7-of-11 shooting from the line. Andersen also pulled down seven rebounds and blocked a shot. He started his coast-to-coast two-man Temple Run through the Bulls with Norris Cole and finished it by dunking Cole’s missed layup.

“He’s going to be big for us in the playoffs because now he’s getting his legs under him and he understands the culture of what we’re trying to do, understands our offensive philosophy,” Wade said.

Defensively, the Heat held Chicago without a two-point field goal in the second half until 7:52 remained in the fourth quarter. Once the Bulls’ three-point shooting cooled in the third quarter, their lack of size became too much to overcome.

“Chris Andersen hurt us with his hustle, and Chris Bosh played well by blocking shots,” Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said.

• Forwards Udonis Haslem and Shane Battier got the day off.

Read more Top Sports Stories stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Washington Wizards forward Al Harrington (7) guards Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley (8) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, April 14, 2014, in Washington. The Wizards won 114-93.

    HEAT NOTEBOOK

    Miami Heat still non-committal on Michael Beasley, Greg Oden

    Even with at least three roster spots to fill, the Heat continues to be non-committal with free agents Michael Beasley and Greg Oden, with the team neither closing the door on a return in conversations with their agents nor offering them a contract to this point, either.

  •  
Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013.

    IN MY OPINION

    Armando Salguero: Joe Philbin optimistic about Miami Dolphins despite skeptics

    Joe Philbin welcomes a visitor with a warm smile and firm handshake and for the next 30 minutes enthusiastically talks about his Dolphins with a confidence that belies the coach’s first two seasons in Miami.

  •  
St. Louis Rams seventh-round draft pick Michael Sam listens to a question during a news conference at the NFL football team's practice facility Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

    IN MY OPINION

    Greg Cote: Michael Sam is a distraction to embrace, not avoid

    It’s no surprise that Tony Dungy’s comments this week about Michael Sam – comments that on the surface seemed more benign than inflammatory – have created such a national tempest. Sports are a Petri dish for argument and debate under any circumstances, and when you add the politics of religion and gay issues to the mix, the chances of a quietly civil discussion have pretty much left the building.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category