Game 44: Chicago Bulls (25-19) lose to Miami Heat (24-21), 89-84
January 25, 2016
United Center – Chicago
Pau Gasol kept the Bulls in the game in the first quarter by matching the Heat’s first eight points. In fact, he even ended the game with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bulls to a 23-18 lead at the end of the quarter.
Pau Gasol: 1st player to record a double-double in the first quarter this season (13 pts/10 rebounds)
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 26, 2016
Doug McDermott and Aaron Brooks then opened the second quarter with back-to-back threes to give the Bulls a nine-point lead. The momentum quickly shifted after that, though, as the Heat went on a 7-0 run to cut the Bulls’ lead to two, 29-27. From there, the Heat went ahead and used that to finish the quarter with 31 points and a 49-47 lead.
Derrick Rose didn’t return to the game in the second half because of what the Bulls called “a lower back/right hamstring injury.” And, at first, the Bulls fared just fine without their starting point guard.
The duo of Aaron Brooks and Tony Snell combined for 11 points to lead the Bulls on a 13-2 run to open the third quarter. After that, though, the Bulls went on a scoring drought, allowing the Heat to get back into the game.
The Heat ended up scoring only 12 points in the quarter, so it wasn’t enough to overtake the Bulls’ lead. But the differential was only seven points heading into the final period, giving way to a close game to end it. And the Heat did just that, going on an 11-5 run to take the 74-73 lead.
It was a back-and-forth game from there, but the Heat outperformed the Bulls to finish with a 7-2 run highlighted by Dwyane Wade‘s scoring and assisting abilities.
Player of the Game
Wade was the clear star of the game: He led all scorers with 28 points on 11-for-21 from the field. He was also one of two Heat players to score in double digits and the lone one to score over 20 points. Wade also added seven rebounds, five assists and a block with just one turnover.
Nikola Mirotic continued his recent success with a 15-point performance on 6-of-11 shooting. He also only attempted two 3-pointers and went 2-for-3 from the charity stripe. Other than that, Mirotic also had eight rebounds for a near double-double along with two assists, one steal and a block.
The Heat’s fast-break points helped them gain — and eventually maintain — a lead, as they had a five point advantage over the Bulls in that category.
While the Bulls shot better than the Heat from the free throw line percentage-wise, they actually had three less makes from there.
Overall, the Heat and Bulls’ assist numbers weren’t too far apart — the Bulls had 18, and the Heat had three more at 21 — but within the Bulls’ assist numbers lies their lack of ball movement in the second half:
Bulls had 3 assists in 2nd half.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 26, 2016
The Bulls will start a seven-game road trip Thursday night when they take on the Los Angeles Lakers at 9:30 p.m. central.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.