67.5%. That was the shooting percentage the Miami Heat had against the Chicago Bulls tonight in a 129-111 win. It was the highest percentage that the Bulls have allowed since 1984 when the Blazers shot 67.1%.
Once again the Bulls defense struggled in this game and this is something that has been harped on the whole season. There are many things to point at for the Bulls defensive collapse tonight. Miami ended up scoring 74 points in the paint on the night and that was a large part to Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside had another huge game against Chicago as he scored 26 points and grabbed 14 boards. His presence on the glass was too much for the Chicago big men, who lost Taj Gibson to a hamstring injury in the 4th quarter. Whiteside always seems to play like an All-Star against Chicago and tonight he showed it once again.
Chicago especially struggled when Whiteside and Justice Winslow were both on the court. Without Chris Bosh, Miami was expected to play small and Chicago didn't have the right matchups. Early on in the game we saw Taj Gibson guarding Luol Deng and in return, Deng guarding Pau on the other end. It was a game of funky matchups and Miami took advantage. The Bulls tried to counter by playing small of their own by putting Dunleavy at the 4 to stretch the court but by the time they did this it was too late.
Without Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah, Chicago was going to struggle on the defensive end. But there should be no excuses for a night like this on the defensive end. Miami's offense isn't good as they are 26th in terms of offensive efficiency but tonight, the Bulls made them look like the Eastern Conference's version of the Golden State Warriors.
Dragic: "They didn't play well on defense and we took advantage of that."
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) March 2, 2016
We didn't execute the game plan. We knew this team was high-scoring in the paint. They picked us apart and got shots they wanted. We didn't force them to take 3s or long shots.
We have to do a much better job of getting into bodies and forcing passes to the weak side. We have to start hitting bodies and being a lot more physical. They played way too comfortable.
Two other takeaways
2. Joe Johnson is a fantastic fit for this Miami team
You can criticize Joe Johnson for chasing money to sign with the Heat instead of chasing a ring and signing with the Cavs but tonight he showed why he came to Miami. Johnson had a solid night as he shot 10-13 from the field and scored 24 points. Johnson is a pure scorer and he compliments this Miami offense well.
With players like Goran Dragic and Dwanye Wade that like to drive to the basket, Johnson will find himself open on some drive and kick situations. Shooting at 41.5% from the field this year, Johnson will have a chance to be a solid first option scorer in Miami. He can also create his own shot, something he has done his whole career. Blame him for chasing the money but Johnson fits this Miami team very well.
3. Derrick Rose looked solid in his return
If there was any positive from this game, it was that Derrick Rose returned and played ok in this game. After missing the last couple of games for Chicago, D-Rose returned and scored a team high 17 points on the night. He was attacking the basket when needed to and has gotten really good and finishing at the rim in the past couple of months.
"I'm good," Rose said. "Missed a couple bunnies. Love the way that I drove the ball. Wind has to catch up a little bit more, but I like how I played."
He wasn't at his best but at least he looked ok in his return because right now, Chicago needs all the help it can get.