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Can’t Take the Heat: Bulls Fall 112-99 in Miami

A 112-99 loss pushes the Bulls two games out of first place for the first time since Christmas after their loss to the Heat on Monday night.

DeMar DeRozan Tristan Thompson Bulls Heat
Photo: ChicagoBulls/Twitter

In a battle between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls looked largely unarmed. The Bulls trailed by as many as 14 points in the first quarter, 19 in the second quarter, and 24 in the third quarter before ultimately falling 112-99 to the Miami Heat on Monday.

The loss knocks the Bulls (39-23) two games back of the Heat (41-21) in the standings. It also strips them of any chance of a tiebreaker should the two teams finish with identical records by season’s end.

To add insult to injury, DeMar DeRozan failed to score 30 points for the first time in 10 games, leaving him one game shy of tying Michael Jordan’s franchise record. DeRozan shot 7-16 from the field and finished with 18 points, his lowest point total since Jan. 14.

Zach LaVine led all scorers with 22 points. Nikola Vucevic (14 points) and Ayo Dosunmu (18 points) were the only other Bulls to reach double figures.

Numbers Don’t Lie

The Bulls won the battle on the glass (51-44) and scored more second-chance points (10-7) and points in the paint (52-40). But the Heat, who were without Kyle Lowry (personal reasons), received major boosts from Gabe Vincent and Tyler Herro, who led Miami with 20 points apiece. Herro and Max Strus, who tallied 13 points, helped pace a Heat bench that outscored the Bulls’ 49-23.

The Bulls and Heat entered Monday’s contest as the second- and third-best three-point shooting teams, respectively, in the Association. However, while the Heat connected at a 38.7% clip, the Bulls weren’t nearly as accurate.

LaVine was 2-8 from distance and Dosunmu was 2-5. Coby White knocked down three of his seven triples, but the Bulls finished 7-29 (24.1%) as a team.

Sloppy From The Start 

The Bulls turned the ball over a whopping eight times in the first quarter. That allowed the Heat to build as much as a 14-point advantage. Chicago cut the deficit to 30-21 by the end of the quarter, but again fell behind by double digits, 47-28, five minutes into the second quarter.

The Bulls used a 16-3 run to narrow the gap to 50-44 at the 1:59 mark of the second quarter. Zach LaVine, who, along with DeMar DeRozan, scored seven points in the period. That again pulled the Bulls to within six, 52-46, a minute later. But, a Caleb Martin triple sent the Bulls into halftime trailing 55-46.

The Bulls were just 8-22 from the field in the third quarter, a stark contrast from the Heat who continued to pour it on to the tune of 59.1% shooting from the field and 42.9% from three.

Bam Adebayo (15 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks) and Jimmy Butler (15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and four steals) scored seven points apiece in the frame, and Miami rode a 24-point lead, 91-67, into the fourth quarter. Ultimately, the Bulls just weren’t enough for the Heat.

What’s On Tap Next?

The Bulls will look to snap their two-game losing streak in Atlanta on Thursday. A victory would clinch a sweep of the season series with the Hawks (29-31) for the second time in the last three seasons. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 PM CST.

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Just a guy who loves sports almost as much as I love writing about them. Chicago through and through. “When they go low, we stay high.”

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