Heat Check: Defense steps up for Miami in win over Chicago

Charlie McCarthy breaks down how the Miami Heat were able to handle the Bulls at home even without the services of LeBron James.

Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) is guarded by Chicago Bulls small forward Mike Dunleavy (34) in the first half.

Robert Mayer / USA TODAY Sports

MIAMI -- With their King unavailable, the Miami Heat relied on a strong defensive effort to defeat the Chicago Bulls.

Chris Bosh had 28 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Heat past the Chicago Bulls 93-79 on a nationally televised game Sunday afternoon. It was Erik Spoelstra's 300th win as Miami coach.

LeBron James, who suffered a broken nose in Thursday night's win at Oklahoma City, watched the game in a gray suit from the Heat bench. He likely will be ready to go when Miami plays host to the New York Knicks this Thursday night.

Center Greg Oden made his first start since Dec. 5, 2009. He finished with five points and five rebounds in 13 minutes.

Dwyane Wade had 23 points, 10 rebounds -- including a career-high seven offensive rebounds -- and seven assists. Mario Chalmers contributed 12 points and nine assists.

Miami's defense held Chicago to 35.8-percent shooting, including 6 of 21 (28.6 percent) from 3-point range. The Heat also forced seven shot-clock violations.

The Heat (40-14), coming of a 5-1 road trip, moved to 1 1/2 games behind Eastern Conference-leading Indiana in the race for home-court advantage in the playoffs.

Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson each scored 20 points for the Bulls (29-26), who played without guard Jimmy Butler (rib bruise).

Miami outscored Chicago 25-12 in the third quarter to build a 65-52 cushion.

The halftime score was tied at 40, as both teams shot worse than 40 percent. Miami hit 16 of 44 (36.4 percent) and Chicago sank 17 of 45 (37.8).

The Heat were outrebounded 32-19 but committed only two first-half turnovers.

THE TURNING POINT

The Heat used an 11-0 to build a 60-50 advantage with 2:10 remaining in the third quarter. The run became larger, but it was that initial burst that grabbed control of the game.

THE DIFFERENCE MAKER

Bosh and Wade split the honor in James' absence. Bosh for hitting mid-range jumpers and Wade for driving to the hoop -- and both did work on the boards.

STAT OF THE GAME

Miami committed just seven turnovers for the game.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Heat will play the New York Knicks 8 p.m. Thursday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

You can follow Charlie McCarthy on Twitter @mccarthy_chas or email him at mac1763@bellsouth.net.