NBA: Heat avenge streak-ending loss, beat Bulls
MIAMI – The Miami Heat on Sunday got revenge on the Chicago Bulls, winning 105-93 on the back of a 24-point performance from superstar LeBron James at American Airlines Arena.
The Heat’s win come three weeks after they were beaten 101-97 by the Bulls — a loss that ended Miami’s near-record win streak at 27 games.
“We wanted to win this game; we always want to protect home court,” Heat center Chris Bosh said. “We didn’t want to play any sloppy basketball and lose a bad game.”
James also had seven rebounds and six assists, while Dwyane Wade scored 22 for the Heat, who shot 51.4 percent from the field overall.
It marked the sixth straight win and a franchise-record 36th victory at home this season for Miami. The Heat went 35-6 on its home court during the 2004-05 campaign.
Chris Andersen had a season-high 15 points off the bench and Mario Chalmers also scored 15 points in the victory.
Chicago had a half dozen players finish in double figures, led by Luol Deng’s 19 points. The Bulls shot just 35.4 percent en route to a fourth loss in five games.
The setback dropped Chicago a full game behind Atlanta for the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference with two games to play in the regular season.
Carlos Boozer finished with 16 points and 20 rebounds while Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson each had 14 points for the Bulls.
“We just have to keep moving forward and concentrate on improving,” said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. “Hopefully we will get a couple of (injured) guys back soon.
“I don’t want us thinking about the playoffs, I want us thinking about the game tomorrow with the Orlando Magic.”
Miami extended their lead in the second half, thanks to Wade’s superb play as the all-star guard scored 12 points on four-of-five shooting in the third quarter.
The Heat led 78-68 with 5:28 left in the third and maintained a double-digit lead for much of the rest of the game.