Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls: Postgame Grades and Analysis

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIMarch 28, 2013

Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls: Postgame Grades and Analysis

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    The Miami Heat's historic winning streak will forever stand at 27 games, thanks to the Chicago Bulls and their 101-97 win over Miami.

    The Heat couldn't stop the Bulls early on, allowing 55 first half points, which is only 37 points less than the Bulls' per-game average this season—92.8 points.

    It wasn't until the second half when LeBron and company turned up the defensive heat, allowing just 14 points in the third quarter.

    Unfortunately for the sake of the Heat's streak, the Bulls proved that was just a fluke with 32 points in the fourth.

    The Bulls were led by aggressive and intelligent defense, discipline on the glass with 12 offensive boards, and most importantly, constant energy on both sides of the ball.

    LeBron James dropped 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting, but that wasn't enough for the Heat, as they dropped just their first game in nearly the past two months.

    Miami's 27-game win streak will live on in NBA history, but so will the Bulls' impressive performance that shut it down.

    All the credit goes to the Bulls for their well-balanced and energetic effort against a team that hasn't been beaten since February 1. 

Point Guards

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    Mario Chalmers, PG Heat

    Mario Chalmers wasn't terrible, until the Heat needed him to not be. He accounted for 9 points, four assists and three rebounds, but what he did in the fourth made all of that production meaningless. 

    Chalmers made quite possibly the worst play of the game when he launched a three ball early in the shot clock with the Heat down just six and 3:30 left in the game.

    That was a major, major turning point in the game. It was such an awful and ill-advised shot that Erik Spoelstra promptly sent him to the bench for the rest of the game.

    It's always a shame when one shot really impacts the outcome of a game, but that was exactly the case, with the Heat running and Chalmers blowing it. For that, Chalmers gets a flat "D," because he simply has to be smarter.

    Overall Grade: D

    Kirk Hinrich, PG Bulls

    Kirk Hinrich was exactly what the Bulls needed him to be. He was gritty, fearless on both sides of the ball and he protected the ball—even against LeBron James' defense in the second half.

    The only issue with his performance was the fact that he had three fouls that forced him to the bench in the first half. Fortunately for the Bulls, Nate Robinson stepped right in and dominated in Hinrich's absence.

    Hinrich ended the night with 7 points, six assists and five rebounds, but most importantly he committed just two turnovers all game long.

    Solid night for Hinrich, which led to the end of the Heat's 27-game winning streak.

    Overall Grade: B+

Shooting Guards

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    Dwyane Wade, SG Heat

    No emotion, urgency or energy on either side of the ball was the name of the game for Dwyane Wade throughout the entire game.

    He rolled his ankle in the fourth quarter, which held him back late in the game. But in all honesty, even with his 16 points and seven rebounds, his presence wasn't a major impact for the Heat.

    Most notably though, Wade's inability to defend Luol Deng, once LeBron James switched on Kirk Hinrich, was a major, major difference maker.

    Not only did Wade get outplayed by Deng, and Jimmy Butler when he was defending him, he also failed to make any kind of impact on the defensive side of the ball, which crippled the Heat.

    Overall Grade: C-

    Jimmy Butler, SG Bulls

    Jimmy "Buckets" Butler played with more energy and emotion than Wade and the Heat for the entire game.

    Shockingly enough, he also played with more discipline and intelligence than Wade for a majority of the game.

    He was a major factor in the first half, with 9 points and three assists. And his impact didn't stop there, ending the night with 17 points on 60 percent shooting, and five assists, three rebounds and two steals.

    The Bulls' commentators kept saying "we're watching Butler grow up before our eyes" and that couldn't be truer. He had a heck of a game right when the Bulls needed him to.

    Oh yea, and he also rose up and posterized the basketball player formerly known as Chris Bosh.

    Overall Grade: A

Small Forward

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    LeBron James, SF Heat

    There's no doubt about it, LeBron was the only player that showed up for the Heat during the first quarter—with 11 of Miami's 20 points in the quarter.

    Unfortunately for the Heat, that didn't change for the majority of the game, as LeBron did his part without the usual support of his teammates.

    He ended the night with 32 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and he accounted for seven rebounds, four blocks, three assists and two steals.

    The problem with LeBron's performance was that he simply didn't take over the game like he had throughout the Heat's streak. You can't really blame him though for his teammates not knocking down their shots he set up for them out on the perimeter on his penetration.

    It's hard to say that Luol Deng outperformed him because the two players didn't match up on each other throughout the game. But Deng certainly meant more to his team throughout the entirety of the game.

    While the streak ends at 27 games, LeBron's dominance continues. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough on Wednesday night.

    Overall Grade: B+

    Luol Deng, SF Bulls

    It was clear that Luol Deng didn't want the Heat leaving Chicago with their 28th-straight win, and he showed that early on with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists in the first half alone.

    Not only did he repeat that offensive production in the second half—ending with 28 points on 10-of-22 shooting—he also amped up his defensive pressure on the other side of the ball.

    Deng is a quiet player, but his production spoke volumes against the Heat, ending the night with 28 points, seven rebounds (3 offensive), five assists and two steals.

    He hit big three after big three, shooting 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, and he proved that he's here to stay as a true superstar in the NBA.

    While it was a well-balanced team effort for the Bulls, Deng certainly was at the forefront of the attack. Their fearless leader led with his actions, and that's why he was the player of the game.

    Overall Grade: A

Power Forwards

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    Udonis Haslem, PF Heat

    Udonis Haslem was a non-factor for the entire game—ending with zero points, one rebound, one assist, two turnovers and five personal fouls in just 10 minutes.  

    His awful performance warrants an "F" and not much more, because frankly, he didn't do enough on the court to fill another sentence. 

    Awful, awful night by Haslem. It might be time to have him come off the bench and insert Chris Andersen into the starting lineup.

    Overall Grade: F

    Carlos Boozer, PF Bulls

    Carlos Boozer almost netted a double-double in the first half alone, with 10 points and 9 rebounds in the first 24 minutes of action.

    It didn't take him long to grab the double-double in the second half, and his production just continued to sky rocket, ending the night with 21 points, 17 rebounds and three assists.

    What's most impressive was his 52.9 percent shooting from the field. That helped minimize the impact of his five ugly turnovers.

    Boozer stood strong when LeBron tried to run through him on a screen, drawing LeBron's first flagrant foul in a couple of years. Maturity and discipline helped the Bulls win this one, and that came solely from Boozer down in the paint.

    Overall Grade: B+


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    Chris Bosh, C Heat

    You wouldn't know it by the 55 points the Bulls scored in the first half, but Bosh had an impressive defensive performance in the half with three blocks.

    Unfortunately, no one else, beside LeBron James, decided to show up on the defensive side of the ball in the first half.

    The second half was a different story, until the game got out of control late in the fourth. The problem with Bosh's performance was his inability to hit anything from the perimeter.

    He shot just 47 percent from the floor, with most of his buckets coming in the paint. Without Bosh's perimeter jumper, the Heat have a very hard time beating teams that can afford to play off of him. 

    Bosh finished with 21 points, but they weren't enough to make up for his below-average shooting performance from the perimeter, especially early on in the game. 

    Overall Grade: B

    Nazr Mohammed, C Bulls 

    The Bulls didn't need much from Nazr Mohammed throughout this one, aside from filling the paint. And he did just that. 

    He netted six points on 3-of-4 shooting, grabbed three rebounds and he even forced two steals. 

    It was a well-rounded performance for Mohammed, and exactly what the Bulls needed from him. He understood his role, fit in it and didn't waiver. Solid stuff from the Bull's replacement big man.

    Overall Grade: B+

Sixth Man

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    Shane Battier, SF Heat

    Shane Battier didn't record any stats in the first half and he shockingly played pretty poor defense all over the court.

    That really didn't change throughout the rest of the game. 

    He scored six big points during the Heat's "comeback," but he couldn't make stops on the defensive side of the ball to make those points really matter.

    Battier got out-hustled by most of the Bulls, and that's very rare. It just goes to show how great the Bulls were, and how bad they wanted to end the Heat's streak.

    Overall Grade: C-

    Nate Robinson, PG Bulls

    When Nate Robinson entered the game in the first quarter he came onto the court with more energy than the entire Heat and their coaching staff combined.

    He dropped 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first half, and he continued his stellar performance until the buzzer sounded.

    While he only scored three points in the second half, the points were very important for the Bulls and his energy and presence on the defensive side of the ball was unmatched.

    Robinson was the spark off the bench the Bulls desperately needed with a depleted lineup. And he didn't disappoint.

    14 points and three assists might not seem like a great stat line, but for the Bulls, it was just what the doctor ordered.

    Overall Grade: B+


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    Heat Bench

    The Heat's bench was absolutely awful, there's just no way around it.

    Not only did they account for just 17 of Miami's 97 points, they didn't bring any intensity to the defensive side of the ball.

    Ray Allen's weak three-point shooting—1-of-4 from beyond the arc—was a major reason why the Heat couldn't pull off the comeback. And Norris Cole did nothing when he was in the game for Mario Chalmers.

    It was a rough night for the Heat's bench. 

    Overall Grade: D

    Bulls Bench

    The Bulls' bench didn't really out-perform the Heat's bench by that much, outscoring them by just five points.

    The real difference was Nate Robinson and his efficient performance. He was the only bench player for the Bulls who shot over 50 percent, and he was the only one who sank a three ball.

    Taj Gibson only had 6 points, but he made up for it with five assists and five rebounds in his 31 minutes of action.

    All in all, the benches didn't add that much offensively for either team, but thanks to Robinson, the Bulls' second unit proved a bit more valuable than the Heats. 

    Overall Grade: B-