On Sunday, the best rivalry in the NBA was renewed. The Miami Heat–in sleeveless jerseys–took to the United Center court to face the Chicago Bulls.
The Heat had the advantage over the Bulls in Miami when the two teams last faced two weeks ago. On Sunday, the Heat did not have the energy to match the efforts that were given by Bulls center Joakim Noah and forward Jimmy Butler. After facing a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter, Noah and Butler willed the Bulls to overtime; and in the extra quarter, the Bulls center sealed the team’s 95-88 victory over the Heat.
Noah finished the game on Sunday with 20 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, and 5 blocks. Not to be outdone by Butler who recorded 16 points on the day to go along with 11 rebounds and 4 steals.
Butler’s defense in the fourth quarter especially was perhaps the greatest performance of the entire game. That would be where the good, the bad, and the ugly starts.
The Good: Defense. The Bulls defense on Sunday shut down the Heat’s offense. On defense, the Bulls were led by both Noah and Butler. Noah gathed 6 defensive rebounds while Butler secured 9 to go along with his 4 steals. Bulls forward Taj Gibson was also a part of the defensive charge as Gibson gathered 7 defensive rebounds while often disrupting shots.
Offensively, D.J. Augustin led the charge in the fourth quarter. Augustin’s 4-of-6 shooting from three-point range propelled the Bulls offense to seize control from the Heat. Augustin finished the game with a team-high 22 points.
The Bad: The Heat struggled from the field during Sunday’s game against the Bulls. For the Heat, no player struggled more than LeBron James. James, who placed blame on his recent shooting struggles on the Heat’s sleeved jerseys, shot 8-for-23 from the field on Sunday while scoring 17 points. It should be noted that the Heat were wearing their traditional sleeveless jerseys.
On the Bulls end, the defense did struggle in closing out on the Heat’s three-point attempts. The Heat only shot 35% from three-point range on Sunday but center Chris Bosh made 3 of his 5 attempts. It was as if the Bulls defense was daring Bosh to take the three-point shot and the Heat center was answering the challenge.
The Ugly: Dwayne Wade’s +/-. Wade played 39 minutes for the Heat on Sunday and registered a +/- of -11 for the Heat on Sunday.