Heat Check: Without Chris Bosh, Miami and Dwyane Wade struggle vs. Bulls

BY foxsports • December 14, 2014

MIAMI -- Without leading scorer Chris Bosh for the first time this season, the Miami Heat faced an uphill battle against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference before the game even started.

The 93-75 blowout loss to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night drops the Heat to 11-13 and 4-7 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Though they kept it competitive through the first half, the Heat succumbed to the superiority of the Bulls and soon fell behind by 20 in the third quarter. Without Chris Bosh and his team-leading 21.6 points per game, the team struggled to score and there were precious few moments of steady play to keep up with the versatile Bulls, who punished the Heat inside and out.

Luol Deng led the Heat with 17 points and 10 rebounds against his former team, but it wasn't nearly enough with Dwyane Wade ineffective for most of the night with 17 points on 7-of-18 shooting, six rebounds, zero assists and six turnovers in almost 28 minutes. Wade scored seven points in the fourth quarter when the game was already decided.

Miami was unable to reach 20 points in each of the first three quarters for the first time this season. The team shot 35 percent from the field and just 18.2 percent from 3-point range. Though they outscored the Bulls 27-21 in the final quarter, it was too little too late.

The Bulls started slowly and shot poorly in the first quarter but wore down the home team inside the paint as Jimmy Butler (17 points, seven rebounds, five assists) and Taj Gibson (15 points, nine rebounds) scored efficiently and got to the free throw line consistently. Derrick Rose began the game slowly but came around in the second half to help put away the Heat for good on a variety of jump shots and penetrations to the rim, finishing with 14 points and three assists.

THE TURNING POINT

Chicago led 39-32 at the half but turned the screws on Miami with a 14-6 run to begin the third quarter.

THE DIFFERENCE MAKER

Mike Dunleavy went scoreless in the first half before exploding for 22 points in the second half to help turn the game into a blowout. He finished 4 of 5 from 3-point territory.

STAT OF THE GAME

The 75 points scored by the Heat equalled a season low. The first-half point total of 32 was a season low.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Heat hit the road again to face the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

You can follow Surya Fernandez on Twitter @SuryaHeatNBA or email him at SuryaFoxSports@gmail.com.


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