Chicago Bulls: What Went Right and Wrong in 97-93 Loss to Miami Heat
While the Bulls performed extremely valiantly without the team's second best player in Luol Deng, Chicago dropped a winnable game to the Heat.
Here is what went right and wrong for the Bulls in their fifth straight loss to the Heat.
What Went Right: Derrick Rose
Despite playing without sidekick Luol Deng, Derrick Rose had one hell of a game for the Chicago Bulls.
The superstar point guard tied his season-high with 34 points with six rebounds and six assists.
Rose made an amazing running floater late in the fourth quarter despite Miami's Udonis Haslem contesting the shot and then offered a highlight reel reverse layup through traffic to tie the game at 84.
Rose was fearless on his way to the rim, scoring another reverse layup in the first quarter even though Haslem hit him on the head.
No. 1 did miss some key shots, but without his outstanding effort, this game wouldn't have been close.
What Went Wrong: Defense on LeBron James
The Miami Heat superstar scored 35 points on 12-of-23 shooting. King James added 11 rebounds, five assists and a thunderous fourth-quarter block on Rose.
James asserted his dominance in the first quarter with a couple alley-oop dunks from Dwyane Wade, including posterizing Chicago Bulls backup John Lucas III. LBJ had 12 first-quarter points on 5-of-6 shooting.
When James played at the 4-position, he over matched the Bulls power forward Taj Gibson for some nice runners and a fade away three-point. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra should consider playing James at the 4 more because of the mismatch his quickness provides.
What Went Right: Defense on Dwyane Wade
Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade returned Friday against the New York Knicks after missing six straight games with a bad ankle sprain, scoring 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting.
However, the Chicago Bulls kept D-Wade from getting into any shooting rhythm.
Bulls shooting guard Richard Hamilton and small forward Ronnie Brewer did a nice job contesting Wade's shots and being physical with him. Flash struggled from the field, getting only 15 points on 4-of-16 shooting.
While D-Wade did have seven assists, his poor shooting performance helped keep the Bulls in the game.
What Went Wrong: Bulls Had Poor Interior Shooting
A big reason why the Chicago Bulls lost this game was that their interior offense wasn't any good.
With 90 seconds left in fourth quarter with the Bulls down 94-88, the Bulls missed three consecutive close shots until power forward Carlos Boozer made a solid shot to cut the deficit to four.
Both Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton missed three shots in that sequence.
Overall, the Bulls starters missed 11 shots in the paint, including four uncontested layups.
What Went Right: Bulls Put Up a Tough Fight
The Miami Heat were heavily favored with a healthy Dwyane Wade and the Bulls having Luol Deng on the sidelines.
However, the Chicago Bulls almost stole one out of Miami.
The Bulls tied the game at 84 late on back-to-back impressive buckets by Derrick Rose. Later, with under a minute left, Rose converted a three-point play to make it 94-93. This comeback happened after the Bulls sustained Heat runs of 11-2, 11-0 and a late 8-2 run in the fourth.
After LeBron James missed a close jumper and Carlos Boozer rebounded the ball, Rose was fouled with a chance to give the Bulls the lead.
Bulls reserve Kyle Korver had nine points and five boards off the bench while center Joakim Noah posted yet another double-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
Miami had to sweat it out until the last second. If the Bulls had Deng in the lineup, the result would've surely been different.
What Went Wrong: Bulls Were Poor Rebounders
The final stat of 48 Miami Heat rebounds to the Chicago Bulls' 47 does not tell the entire story.
The Bulls were really sloppy in post and loose ball rebounding.
When the Bulls would miss a shot, there would be four Bulls against one or two Heat going after the ball. But the Heat player would grab the board, as the Bulls would fail to box out.
In loose ball situations, the Heat out hustled the Bulls for numerous boards.
Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer was out-muscled by the Heat's Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem all night, showing again why he is considered a soft defensive player inside.
What Went Wrong: Bulls Made Too Many Mistakes
Whatever way you cut it, the Chicago Bulls made too many mistakes against the Miami Heat.
The Bulls shot 8-of-19 from the field in the fourth quarter.
Richard Hamilton turned the ball over on a horrible right wing pass to an open Ronnie Brewer that sailed out of bounds as the Bulls were trailing 92-86 late.
Derrick Rose bricked his only two free throw misses in the final seconds and aired the potential game-winning shot.
And this doesn't include some poor interior defense that allowed Miami's Big Three to convert uncontested layups and dunks.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has many points to look over with his team, as they know they let a winnable game slip by.