The Chicago Bulls regulars got a lesson on how hard they need to play every possession. Ultimately, they were in too big of a hole, starting the game surrendering a 15-0 run, and the Heat were too balanced and too good for the Bulls to steal back a win.
Down 21 with about five minutes to play, Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen emptied his bench pairing Ryan Arcidiacono, Daniel Gafford, and Shaquille Harrison with a guy who has hardly played (Denzel Valentine, six minutes of playing time this season) and a guy who straight up hasn’t played at all (two-way player Max Strus).
All that group did was whittle the Bulls deficit all the way down to seven points forcing Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra to bring some of his starters back into the game.
The Bulls fell 116-108, but hopefully a message was sent to the starters and other regulars who watched from the bench as their little-used teammates put up perhaps the most inspiring effort of the young season so far. The Bulls bench scored 62 points this game.
Eight Heat players had at least eight points in this one led by a quiet 27 from former Bull Jimmy Butler. Chicago native Kendrick Nunn continues his Cinderella season with 21 points.
First career NBA game at United Center (notable @SimeonNation alumni)— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) November 23, 2019
Derrick Rose 10/28/2008
Jabari Parker 1/5/2016
Kendrick Nunn tonight
13 points in 1st qtr
Behind a more stingy defense, the Bulls made a mini 20-8 run in the third quarter to cut their deficit to 14 points. But for most of the rest of the game they traded buckets until the late run by the reserves which wasn’t good enough to surmount a double-digit deficit.
The Heat assisted on 33 of their 39 made baskets, as their offense is constantly in motion. It’s in a stark contrast to the Bulls offense that often involves three guys standing around the 3-point line and one guy trying to make something happen off of a pick-and-roll with Wendell Carter Jr. or Thaddeus Young.
The Heat led 67-43 at halftime, outrebounding, out-cutting, and out-hustling the Bulls through another lethargic effort on their home floor.
This was the story from the opening tip. The Heat sprinted out to a 34-16 first quarter lead, and didn’t look back the rest of the game. Zach LaVine lasted three minutes in the first before getting pulled. He was a -13 in those minutes.
Kendrick Nunn wasted no time in his return to the 312, scoring 13 points in the first quarter. Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler attempted two shots, made one of them, and dished out three assists.
Through the first 16 minutes of the game, the Heat (18) doubled the Bulls (9) rebounding output. The Heat rolled with their second unit reserves for about 10 minutes in the middle of the first half and all they did was continue to extend the lead (four second unit guys got eight or more minutes of playing time in the first half).
The Heat launched 23 3-pointers in the first half, nailing 11 of them to help build a 24-point lead at the halfway mark in the game. They finished the game with just three more splashes from 3-point land, but it was still better than the Bulls 10-for-30 effort from downtown.
The Bulls travel to Charlotte for their second game of this back-to-back.