Miami Heat

Heat holds on for much-needed win over Bulls to snap three-game losing skid

Miami Heat’s Josh Richardson (0) puts up a shot against Chicago Bulls’ Ryan Arcidiacono (51) at the United Center on Nov. 23, 2018 in Chicago.
Miami Heat’s Josh Richardson (0) puts up a shot against Chicago Bulls’ Ryan Arcidiacono (51) at the United Center on Nov. 23, 2018 in Chicago. Getty Images

What’s a Miami Heat game without some drama?

Even in a game Miami (7-11) led by as many as 26 points, Chicago (5-14) put together a comeback to make things interesting. The Bulls pulled to within four points with 6:07 to play, but the Heat held on for a 103-96 victory Friday at the United Center.

The win snapped Miami’s three-game losing skid and marked Chicago’s fifth loss in six games.

Although there was some drama late in the game, the Heat never trailed over the final three quarters behind a strong defensive effort. The Heat, which entered with the 10th best defensive rating in the league, held the Bulls to 37.2 percent shooting and forced 18 turnovers.

Josh Richardson led Miami’s offense with 27 points on 10 of 16 shooting. He scored 12 in the fourth quarter to help put an end to the Bulls’ comeback.

In his first start since returning from injury earlier this week, Heat forward James Johnson struggled with three points on 1 of 8 shooting, but did record four rebounds and five assists.

The only blemish in the Heat’s performance came in the third quarter. Chicago outscored Miami 30-18 in the period, while the Heat won the other three quarters by a combined 85-66 margin.

Justin Holiday and Zach LaVine were the Bulls’ two best players Friday. Holiday ended the night with 27 points and 13 rebounds, while LaVine finished with 24 points and nine assists.

Both teams were without key players. The Heat was missing guards Goran Dragic (right knee), Tyler Johnson (strained right hamstring) and Dion Waiters (left ankle surgery), and the Bulls were without Kris Dunn (left MCL sprain), Lauri Markkanen (right elbow sprain), Bobby Portis (right MCL sprain) and Denzel Valentine (left ankle instability).

The Heat now moves on to a Sunday matchup against the Raptors, which own the NBA’s best record at 16-4, to close out its quick two-game trip.

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