Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls: Postgame Grades and Analysis

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Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls: Postgame Grades and Analysis
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Boozer scored 27 points, Joakim Noah posted a double-double, and the Chicago Bulls used a 49-27 rebounding edge to topple the Miami Heat 107-87 on Thursday night at the United Center.

Dwyane Wade sat this one out with an illness, and the Heat sure could have used him.

The Bulls dominated this contest from the get-go, holding Miami to only nine first-half rebounds. As a matter of fact, Noah had more boards (10) than the entire Heat team over the first 24 minutes.

Also, one game after Miami shot a season-low 44 percent from the floor, it achieved a season-low again by shooting only 42 percent against Chicago.

The Bulls, on the other hand, shot 52 percent, hitting 10 of their 19 three-point tries.

The Heat are now on a rather rare two-game losing streak.

 

Miami Heat

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

LeBron James, Small Forward

LeBron James started out strong in this one, clearly trying to impose his will early on. He scored on the Heat's first two possessions, posted 17 first-half points and looked primed for a big game.

Well, we didn't get one of those typical monster performances by LeBron, after all.

James proceeded to score only four points in the second half, and he only played a few minutes in the fourth quarter.

LeBron settled for jumpers too often in the loss, and he wasn't hitting them.

James' final stat line? 21 points and five rebounds off 7-of-17 shooting.

This one won't make the four-time MVP's highlight reel.

Grade: B-

 

 

Ray Allen, Shooting Guard

With Wade out, Ray Allen got the start for Miami.

Allen was relatively quiet, scoring nine points off 2-of-4 shooting and connecting on only one three. He also missed a couple of good looks from beyond the arc in transition.

The all-time leader in three-point makes went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in 26.5 minutes.

Grade: C+

 

Chris Bosh, Center

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Bosh is a fine NBA player. He is quick. He can shoot. He can handle the ball. He is a solid team defender.

Unfortunately, he is playing out of position.

Bosh really was not very good at all against Chicago, largely due to the fact that the Bulls are so big inside.

The Heat center scored 10 points and grabbed only two rebounds in 27 minutes. He also didn't record a single board in the first half.

To make matters worse, he went 4-of-11 from the floor. Those of you who were watching probably wondered if Bosh was allergic to red paint, as he hardly spent any time in the lane.

This was not a very impressive outing for the man who has become more known for his three-point shooting than his interior play.

Grade: D

 

Mario Chalmers, Point Guard

This wasn't a very good night for Mario Chalmers, to say the least.

In 13.5 minutes, the floor general scored three points and picked up four fouls. He was also abused by Kirk Hinrich early on, allowing his counterpart to score eight points in the first quarter. Chalmers was put on skates a couple of times by Hinrich in the early going.

Rio went 1-of-4 from the field and missed both of his three-point tries.

Grade: F

 

Shane Battier, Power Forward

The Bulls are a very tough matchup for Shane Battier, as he has to battle with Chicago's strong bigs up front. You saw evidence of that on Thursday night, as Battier was really worked over by Carlos Boozer inside.

Battier went scoreless in the first half and then proceeded to knock down a pair of threes in the third quarter.

The veteran scored six points off 2-of-6 shooting and only corralled one rebound.

Grade: D+

 

Michael Beasley, Sixth Man

Michael Beasley brought great energy off the Heat bench, even inching Miami back into the game in the fourth quarter with his impressive defense and play in transition. (Yes, I did just say Beasley was playing good defense.) 

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The forward posted 15 points and seven rebounds, even blocking a couple of shots in 23 minutes.

Plus, while a few of his shot attempts were questionable, Beasley shot a rather robust 7-of-13 from the floor.

The young man appears to be finding a niche in Miami's rotation, and that is an extraordinary thing for Erik Spoelstra.

Grade: A-

 

Bench

Norris Cole scored 12 points, but just about all of those points came in garbage time, when the game was already out of hand. 

Roger Mason Jr. tallied seven points, but he shot only 1-of-5 from three.

Udonis Haslem was pretty awful in his 26 minutes, registering one point and four rebounds.

Oh, and if you're wondering where Chris Andersen was, he missed this one due to personal issues.

Regardless of the 19 points Cole and Mason scored between them, the Miami bench was nonexistent when the game was within reach, so I can't give them too high of a mark.

Grade: C+

 

 

Chicago Bulls

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Joakim Noah, Center

Awesome, awesome performance by Joakim Noah.

The Bulls big man posted 17 points and 15 rebounds and demonstrated his trademark floor vision, making some outstanding passes in the paint to his teammates and adding three assists to his stat line.

Noah was an absolutely dominant force on the glass, overpowering the Heat front line in all 33 minutes he played.

Noah shot 6-of-9 from the field and went 5-of-6 from the charity stripe, displaying some efficiency in his fine all-around outing.

Oh, and he brought out his trademark celebration.

Can't forget that.

Grade: A

 

Luol Deng, Small Forward

Although Luol Deng went a mediocre 5-of-12 from the floor on Thursday night, he hit on four of his seven attempts from long distance and shot a solid 6-of-8 from the free-throw line in scoring 20 points.

Deng also played some great defense on James, using his length to decrease James' field of vision and forcing James into some contested looks on the perimeter.

Luol filled out his stat sheet, too, hauling in five rebounds and dishing out five dimes to go along with his scoring output.

Nice, productive evening from Deng in a hefty 42 minutes.

Grade: A-

 

Carlos Boozer, Power Forward

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Carlos Boozer was the best player on the court in this one.

The Chicago power forward was thoroughly dominant, posting 27 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes. He threw his weight around in the paint, knocked down jumpers and fought tooth and nail for the entire contest.

Boozer shot 10-of-17 from the floor and went 7-of-9 from the free-throw line, as his size and strength gave Miami issues all night.

To put the cherry on top, he was a game-best plus-21.

Grade: A

 

Kirk Hinrich, Point Guard

Kirk Hinrich got off to a blistering start, scoring eight points off 3-of-3 shooting in the first quarter.

He would end up putting together a very solid effort overall, registering 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds while hitting on three of his four attempts from deep.

The pesky guard also played physically all game, even getting in Cole's face after the Miami reserve delivered a bit of a forearm to his neck.

Good performance from the Kansas product.

Grade: B+

 

Tony Snell, Shooting Guard

I liked what Tony Snell brought to the table in the 28 minutes he saw Thursday night.

He displayed great patience, only taking shots that were appropriate within the offense and hustling every second he was on the floor.

The rookie scored eight points, draining a couple of triples and pulling down three boards in the process.

While Snell may never be a star in this league, he looks like he has the tools to be a very solid role player with good instincts.

Grade: B-

 

Taj Gibson, Sixth Man

Taj Gibson was a monster off the bench.

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The lanky forward tallied 19 points, shooting 8-of-12 from the floor and slithering his way inside for some buckets in the paint. He did a fine job of drawing contact too, attempting five free throws (he made three).

Gibson also hit a huge jumper in the fourth quarter to squelch a Miami run and put the Bulls back up 14.

The reserve recorded six rebounds in 24 minutes.

Grade: A

 

Bench

Outside of Gibson, the only Chicago bench player to score was Mike Dunleavy, who hit a three for his only points of the contest.

Marquis Teague got to the basket several times in 19 minutes, but he was unable to convert, missing some layups. He did hand out three assists, though.

Nazr Mohammed also saw some action, but he did not make a dent in this one.

Grade: C

 

What's Next for the Heat?

Well, we know the Heat don't care all that much about the regular season, but their schedule certainly doesn't get any easier after Thursday night.

Miami will have three more games on the road coming against the likes of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers, all big teams that can exploit the Heat's lack of size up front.

After this road trip is over, Miami will have five straight contests at home, but it will have to deal with some pretty stiff competition away from AmericanAirlines Arena first.

 

What's Next for the Bulls?

The Bulls actually have a fairly easy road ahead.

Their next six games are against teams below .500, so they could possibly make up some ground in the standings over the next couple of weeks.

After that, they get games at Houston and Oklahoma City, but let's take it one step at a time.

For now, the Bulls have a golden opportunity to string together some wins.

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