Heat Beat Bulls Without LeBron, 93-79
MIAMI (AP) — With LeBron James watching from the bench in a suit and tie, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade powered the Miami Heat to a 93-79 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.
James was a late scratch after he broke his nose in Thursday’s win at Oklahoma City, and his teammates picked up the slack, with reserves Chris Andersen, Michael Beasley and Ray Allen helping the Heat pull away in the second half.
Bosh tied a career high with four 3-pointers and had 28 points and 10 rebounds. Wade added 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, while Mario Chalmers contributed 12 points and nine assists.
But the Heat mostly won with defense against the offensively challenged Bulls, who were also short-handed. Starter Jimmy Butler was a late scratch because of bruised ribs.
The Bulls shot 36 percent, went 6 for 21 from 3-point range and were called for a 24-second violation at least six times, including twice in a row. Joakim Noah had 20 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks for Chicago, which had won five in a row.
Miami, playing at home for the first time in 20 days, extended its winning streak to five games.
Wade sealed the victory by sinking a jumper with less than three minutes left, giving the Heat their first 18-point lead. Earlier two of his points came on free throws after he improvised a backward somersault when fouled hard in the lane.
Otherwise there weren’t a lot of acrobatics from the typically high-flying Heat, who shot 42 percent and had only seven fast-break points.
Baskets were especially tough to come by early — for both teams. They combined to miss their first 14 shots in the second quarter, going scoreless for nearly 4½ minutes.
The Heat were so ragtag at times that Andersen launched a pair of 3-pointers (he missed).
Former NBA No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden replaced James for his first NBA start since December 2009. Oden had five points and five rebounds in 13 minutes.
James, missing a game for only the second time this season, drew a big ovation when he was shown on the video scoreboard during an early timeout. With the score 40-all at halftime, his necktie came off.
Soon the game wasn’t so tight for the Heat. They scored on seven consecutive possessions during a 16-2 run at the end of the third quarter that put them ahead 65-52.
The catalysts were unlikely: In quick succession, Andersen dunked on an alley-oop, Allen hit a runner and Beasley banked home a basket.
NOTES: Miami’s Erik Spoelstra earned his 300th career victory in his 448th game. Only five coaches reached the milestone more quickly, including his boss, Pat Riley, who did it the fastest at 416 games. … Wade’s seven offensive rebounds were a career high. … The Bulls fell to 24-6 when leading after one quarter. … Miami improved to 8-1 in February.
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