The Chicago Bulls played like they wanted to make the playoffs. They did a lot of things right, but they just happened to be going up against a Miami team that was also playing for something, and that is homecourt advantage in the first round. I
The Heat made a big fourth quarter push last night en route to a 106-98 victory in South Beach, as well as the Heat;s first season sweep of the Bulls since the 03-04 season, which was Wade’s first. The Heat were led by Dwyane Wade and Joe Johnson with 21 and 17 points respectively. Luol Deng added 13, while Goran Dragic had a big double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Off the bench, Hassan Whiteside contributed 16 and 12 and Josh Richardson put up 11 points. Justise Winslow only had two points, but played solid defense as he always does.
The big surprise was that Goran Dragic was on the bench in the fourth quarter. In a game that had a slower pace down the stretch, Erik Spoelstra elected to keep Richardson on the floor and let Wade run the point since his game is more geared towards the half-court style. Let’s see how they did with the 3 keys.
- Defend the perimeter: The Bulls did a good job of mixing it up and not being too predictable, but they did not shoot well from the three-point line, which did hurt them in the end. Miami did do a good job of not allowing a lot of open looks.
- Limit Gasol: Gasol played well with 21 points and 12 rebounds, but he was the only Bull that was able to play consistently well against the Heat. His second half, though, was not as good as his first half as Miami was able to make some adjustments.
- Dominate the paint: The Heat scored 64 points in the paint and out-rebounded the Bulls 51-46. I would say they played very well inside led by Wade’s array of moves in the low post and Whiteside’s huge second half on the boards.
Big win for the Heat as they stayed on pace with Atlanta and Boston. Probably going to come down to the last game of the season to determine playoff seeding.