With Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, many expected the Chicago Bulls to struggle on offense. But Chicago played pretty well against their opponents, the Miami Heat, for around 3 quarters of the game. Then Chicago faded away in the 4th quarter as Miami blew the game open and walked out of the United Center with a 118-96 win.
It was a solid first quarter for the Bulls as they lead Miami 31-22 at the end of the quarter. Like last time, Miami put out a small lineup and Chicago quickly went to work on it. With Luol Deng guarding him to begin the game, Chicago fed Taj Gibson in the post for the first three offensive possessions. Chicago set the tone early as the pushed the ball and got good production from their bigs. Pau Gasol had a great first quarter as he scored eight points, four assists, and five rebounds. He was all over the place in the first quarter as he even knocked down two three's. Justin Holiday also brought good energy in the first quarter as he scored four points in his first start for the Bulls. With Rose out, the Bulls had to start Holiday and he certainly showed something for the Bulls. The Bulls bench also pitched in at the end of the quarter with Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic scoring for Chicago as well.
The second quarter saw Miami get right back in the game as their offense began to pick it up. The second quarter basically was the Bulls trying to pull away and Miami coming right back. Hassan Whiteside, the Bulls killer, almost had a double double in the first half as he scored 11 points and nine rebounds. Goran Dragic also took advantage of Tony Snell's defense as he was attacking the rim with ease in the second quarter. Miami got back to their basics of beating the Bulls inside as they held a 36-22 advantage in terms of points in the paint. The positive for Chicago was their bench who gave a lot of the scoring in the second quarter. The Bulls bench had 24 points in the half as they were a bright spot in the first half. The first half ended on a bad note as the Bulls allowed Dragic to dribble the length of the court and finish with an easy layup as time expired. It was a 58-54 Bulls lead at the end of the 3rd.
The third quarter saw the Heat take the lead again when Joe Johnson hit a jumper with six minutes left in the third quarter. It was a great quarter for the Heat as they began to pick it up on both ends of the court, especially defensively. Chicago was still shooting 51% at the end of the quarter as the teams battled back and forth for the lead. The Heat had an 84-81 lead as Chicago once again allowed another easy layup at the buzzer. This time it was Josh Richardson who went the length of the court and got another easy layup.
The 4th quarter looked to be a fight to the end but the Heat quickly landed the knockout blow to the Bulls. Early on Miami got two quick buckets from Richardson as they stretched the lead to 88-83. Then the flood gates promptly opened and everything went south. Chicago decided that the best offense is turning the ball over and Miami took advantage of that. The Heat went on a 22-2 run in a span of 4:15 to blow this game wide open. Literally everything Chicago did for about 75% of this game went to waste as Miami started to hit all of their shots and the Bulls had no answers. Richardson decided to go off in the 4th quarter as he scored a career high 19 points for the Heat. The collapse was brutal to watch as the Bulls just melted in the fourth quarter. With out Rose and Butler, it was tough for Chicago to find guys that can create their own shot and it showed tonight.
Chicago’s in the 8th spot for like another 15 minutes.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 12, 2016
If there was one positive to take away from tonight, it was the play of Justin Holiday. Putting him over Tony Snell in the rotation seemed liked it was bound to happen considering how poorly Snell has played this season. Many didn't expect much from him but he has showed some good flashes of play so far.
Chicago will have the weekend off before they take on the Raptors in Canada on Monday. The Bulls are now back in the 9th spot in the Eastern Conference standings.