The much maligned Carlos Boozer came through for the second game in a row. After notching 31 points against Orlando, he helped the Bulls out muscle the Heat with 27 points and 12 rebounds.
Bulls going old school
The Bulls were #1 in the league in offensive rebounding last year, but have fallen to eighth this season. Their defensive rebounding rate has also been down. For one game, the Bulls dominated the glass like they have the past two seasons, and when Chicago can pull down 19 offensive rebounds while giving up a mere four, they're going to be nearly impossible to beat.
You don't need to score so efficiently when you can generate an extra 15 shots more than your opponent by dominating the glass, and the Bulls proved that out shooting a lower percentage from the field and getting to the free throw line less frequently than the Heat as well.
They even survived numerous horrific mental mistakes/dicey officiating which gave the Heat extra attempts from the line, Noah's flagrant foul, Kirk's breakaway foul, Noah fouling Bosh on a turnaround with under a second on the shot clock etc...
Bulls responding to Heat runs
In one stretch in the third quarter the Bulls and Heat both went on offensive binges where they scored nearly every possession, but the Bull included a couple of back to back threes in their stretch and hit an additional shot to build the lead.
The Heat offense then sputtered, and the Bulls went on to win the third period 26-18 giving them a nine point lead entering the fourth.
The Heat cut it down early on Joakim Noah's dicey flagrant (he tried to stop LeBron from driving, grabbed him from around the shoulder and LeBron went down but Noah appeared to try to hold him up and he didn't go down hard at all),
However, even with plenty of help from the refs, the Heat couldn't put together a run to get on top, stop the Bulls from getting second chance points, and couldn't score the ball frequently enough.
Beyond rebounding, the Heat were done in by poor three point shooting of their own. Shane Battier in particularly missed a multitude of wide open three pointers in the second half, and LeBron also struggled from beyond the arc. All in all, the Heat shot just 5-20 from beyond the arc, but they had the shot they wanted frequently.
If Battier knocks down three of five of his wide open threes, the outcome might have been different even with the Bulls dominating the glass. However, their role players let them down, and the Bulls did enough to win.
Are the Heat not so good or not so serious?
Beyond the fact that the Heat probably shoot a bit better from beyond the arc the next time the Bulls play, the game opens up the question: Are the Heat not so good or not so interested?
Prior to this game, they tempted fate in two overtime wins that they easily could have lost. Are the Heat not as talented as I think or are they just trying to stroll through the regular season? I tend to think it's more of the second and that this team will find its focus in the playoffs when it needs it.
Chicago's 6-2 against the Heat in the regular season since the big three came together including two wins without Derrick Rose and a third were Derrick effectively didn't play [he was just returning from injury and was benched for the fourth and played horribly in the game].
Quite frankly, that 6-2 means little relative to the 1-4 while matched up in the playoffs. Miami's stars have played enough regular season games to know that regular season means little. LeBron's captured the regular season crown twice without doing much in the playoffs just like Derrick Rose has now done.
That said, there's nothing so fun as beating the Miami Heat. Maybe Miami isn't playing as hard or serious as they could, but the Bulls just went into their house and smacked them in the face without their superstar.
If I were a Heat fan, I wouldn't care much about the regular season either, but it'd be hard not to be disgusted at times [of course, rooting for LeBron would feel dirty at all times, so maybe an immunity is built up].