Heat unable to last, withers in 113-99 loss to weary Bulls – The Denver Post

The good news for the Miami Heat is that to get out of the qualifying round, you only have to win a game in a row.

Because everything that is extended for the moment seems out of reach for Erik Spoelstra’s team.

Failing for the second time in 10 days to produce the team’s first three-game winning streak in a month, the Heat instead fell 113-99 on Saturday night against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.

And in a season of bad losses in good places, this one was right up there.

Not only were the Heat coming off two days of rest, inactive since Wednesday night’s blowout home win over the Memphis Grizzlies, but the Bulls were coming off a home win in double overtime the night before.

And yet, until late, it looked like the Heat were the team short on legs, ending the season streak 0-3 against the Bulls.

While a late rally drew the Heat within three in the fourth, it was the classic case of a team running out of fuel.

The team rested.

Not the other who had played the night before until their last breath.

Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 24 points and seven rebounds, Bam Adebayo closing with 23 points and seven rebounds, and Tyler Herro with 15 points. But otherwise there was little reserve beyond Max Strus’ 20 points on the bench.

Five degrees of heat from Saturday’s game:

1. Closing time: The Bulls led 33-19 after the first quarter and 70-45 at halftime, when the Heat were 5 of 20 from 3-pointers, with the Bulls 9 of 17 from beyond the arc.

The Heat then dropped 27 points, put up a 15-0 run in the third quarter to move into the 12, and trailed 90-77 going into the fourth.

From there, the Heat moved within 93-90 with 8:43 left on a 3-point Herro, only to see a Bulls 3-point barrage put it away.

2. Heaviest lift: Butler again did his part, maintaining his competitiveness even when everything around him was heading south.

Not only did Butler have 24 points at the start of the fourth, but he was 8 of 11 at this point, with the rest of his teammates 19 of 51. He was also 8 of 11 from the line in three periods.

Butler’s final rest ended with 7:04 to go and the Heat at 98-92.

But that’s when the Bulls got 3 points from Coby White and DeMar DeRozan to take a 104-94 lead.

3. Waiting Game: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra declined to elaborate on why Kyle Lowry was held Saturday instead of the second night of a straight set Sunday in Detroit.

Lowry has played three games since missing 15 in a row with knee pain.

“Because it was part of the plan,” Spoelstra said. “That’s what we had planned for the week and we’re sticking to the plan.

“We’ll see where we go from here. But that’s the plan for this week. We’re formulating the plan for next week and we’ll see where we go from there.

4. Strus ramps up: Back in his hometown, Strus provided a boost off the bench when there was otherwise little support for the Heat’s starters.

Included on the DePaul product night was a four-point play with 10:14 left that drew the Heat into the six.

Speaking of the bench, with Lowry out, Victor Oladipo returned to the Heat mix after being held against the Grizzlies on Wednesday for the first time due to the coach’s decision this season.

Oladipo entered for the first time with 3:43 remaining in the opening period, at point guard, a position where he seems largely ill-chosen.

5. All these years: As far as chips on the shoulders go, Bulls guard Patrick Beverley has enough to stock a casino. He never forgets.

That includes when, before the start of the Big Three run in 2010, the Heat signed Jerry Stackhouse and kept Eddie House, making Beverley their final cut before the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh era.

Beverley has spoken about it often since, even more fueled when the Heat bypassed him in the buyout market last month.

So there he was on Saturday night, not only draining four 3-pointers in the first half, but at one point also mocking the Heat’s undersized roster with a two-bit gesture after driving for a field goal.

Beverley’s aggression finally got the better of him, forced to the bench with his fifth foul with 7:14 left in the third period.


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