CHICAGO–LeBron James scored 26 points and notched 12 rebounds Thursday to lead the Miami Heat to an emphatic 86-67 NBA victory over the Chicago Bulls that stretched their winning streak to nine games.
James’s seven assists left him three shy of a triple-double, and Dwyane Wade added 17 points for a Heat team that shot 51 percent from the field against one of the league’s top defenses.
Miami held Chicago to their lowest points total this season.
The Bulls were again without point guard Kirk Hinrich, who had missed seven games before returning in Tuesday’s victory over the Hornets.
The pain in his right elbow flared up and sidelined him again, leaving Nate Robinson to start.
Robinson had a team-high 14 points, while Carlos Boozer added 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bulls’ 17 first-half turnovers were more than their season average of 14.7 coming into the contest.
They lost the ball five times in a definitive 13-0 Heat run in the second quarter that saw Miami take a 39-28 lead. The Heat led by at least seven points for the rest of the game.
After Wade’s layup gave Miami a 70-56 lead early in the fourth, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau sat All-Stars Joakim Noah and Luol Deng.
France’s Noah finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists while Britain’s Deng scored six points on 3-of-12 shooting.