So much for that resurgent offense. So much for that win streak. So much for that burgeoning contendership.
The Bulls, after a strong first quarter that saw them outscore the Heat 24-20, were throttled in the second half, falling to the LeBron-less Heat by 14. Everything that’s worked in 2014 for the Bulls (D.J. Augustin) didn’t work today (D.J. Augustin), and the Bulls followed up a 40 point first half with a 39 point second half.
Chicago was led by Joakim Noah’s 20 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks on 7-11 shooting and Taj Gibson’s 20 points and 10 rebounds on 8-18 shooting. Everyone else was fairly terrible. Mike Dunleavy chipped in with 13 points on 12 shots and Kirk Hinrich managed to reach double figures, with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists on 4-10 shooting. Boozer was 3-8 and only logged 24 minutes, while Tony Snell and the aforementioned D.J. Augustin combined to go 2-20 from the field.
On the Heat front, Chris Bosh once again saw his usage shoot up without LeBron James, finishing with a game high 28 points and 10 rebounds on 10-23 shooting, while Dwyane Wade chipped in with 23 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. Mario Chalmers added 12 points and 9 assists, while Ray Allen added 10 points for the Heat, who become the second team in the conference to reach the 40-win mark and now stand at 40-14, one game behind the Pacers in the loss column. Speaking of the Pacers, their magic number to clinch the Central Division is 13.
Not much more to say, here. The sobering reality of the situation is that if the Bulls get through their prospective first round opponent (which would be the Wizards right now), this is likely what awaits them in the second round.
Player(s) of the Game: Joakim Noah