Sustained energy has been hard to come by for the Chicago Bulls.
The season followed the same script – building a first-half lead to let it slip away. So when the Miami Heat began to shed a second-half lead on Saturday — cutting a 27-point deficit to just three points — it looked like the Bulls were about to repeat their greatest weakness yet again.
Instead, the Bulls soaked up the pressure to hold on to a 113-99 win at the United Center. DeMar DeRozan burned from midrange for a team-high 24 points. Patrick Beverley tossed from sideline to sideline and scored 17 points while Coby White led a barrage of shots from the 3-point line and finished with 18 points.
The result came on the heels of a double-overtime victory Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, giving the Bulls a rare pair of straight wins. And as they extend a 9-7 record after the All-Star break, the Bulls have found a little boost in their competitive run.
- The Heat usually burn the Bulls behind the 3-point arc. But the Bulls managed to tie the Heat from deep on another higher volume night of 3-point attempts, going 17-for-34 while the Heat went 10-for-37. Beverley hit four straight 3-pointers at the second quarter and went 5 for 10 from deep in a 17-point performance. Coby White went 4 for 8 of 3 and Zach LaVine 3 for 6 as six Bulls made at least one shot deep.
- Both teams turned the ball over 14 times, but the Bulls took better advantage of their opportunities running into the open field. The Bulls scored 22 points on turnovers to the Heat’s 11. DeRozan landed three interceptions and White added two as the Bulls covered the perimeter with pressure.
- Accuracy fueled the win for the Bulls, who shot 61.7% from the floor in the first half and finished 56.2% overall. Efficiency stems from a high rate of ball movement as the Bulls recorded a season-high 34 of 45 assists.
- Alex Caruso suffered a sprained left midfoot in the second quarter, leaving the game after registering five points and two assists in 10 minutes. Caruso has been injury prone and has already treated a similar sprain to his left foot.
- The Bulls led up to 27 points, but the Heat widened that advantage with a 15-0 run in the third quarter. The Bulls struggled to keep their momentum out of the locker room after halftime and repeated that pattern on Saturday, allowing the Heat to outscore them 32-20 in the third quarter. The Heat then opened the fourth with a pair of 3-pointers, cutting the lead to four points in the final minutes of the game.
quote of the night
After so many meltdowns this season, the Bulls were bolstered by their ability to weather the Heat’s second-half storm.
“We realized it was a must win today,” Beverley said. “After a game in double overtime (Friday), we didn’t want to go out in the mud. We wanted to go out and throw the first punch. Our first punch was really heavy and we were able to withstand their punches throughout the match.
where they stand
The Bulls improved to 33-37 to maintain their position as 10th in the Eastern Conference.
What happens after
The Bulls face a home-and-away series against the 76ers, playing in Philadelphia on Monday and at the United Center on Wednesday.