Through all the question marks facing them this season, the Bulls have always appeared to rise to the occasion against some of the league’s best teams.
That wouldn’t be the case Thursday night as the Miami Heat won their ninth straight over Chicago, defeating them 86-67
The 67 points is a season-low and were compounded by a season-high 27 turnovers, which Miami turned into 24 points.
In contrast to the turnovers, the Bulls only made 28 field goals as a team.
“The turnovers were a problem, also the type of passes that we were making,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “They have great quickness. Give them credit, they were into us and we didn’t move the ball. That part to me, I have to make our team understand the type of plays to make to give ourselves a chance. Obviously when you turn the ball over like that, that part is on me. We have to understand what we have to do against that team to have a chance and we made the wrong type of plays against them.
“Miami is rolling right now, they’re playing great,” he continued. “They’re intensity is great, they’re playing very unselfishly on both sides of the floor. You have give them credit. With that being said, you have two or three bad minutes and you’re going to crush yourselves and that’s what we did. The ball wasn’t moving the way it needed to be moved.”
The Bulls were led by Nate Robinson’s – who started in place of Kirk Hinrich after he experienced soreness in his right elbow – team high 14 points . Carlos Boozer registered his 27th double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Despite their turnovers and blown layups, the Bulls were lucky to be down just 10 at halftime and only 11 at the end of the third. They only managed to score 13 points in both the second and fourth quarters and Miami wasn’t exactly on top of their game as a team, committing 18 turnovers themselves.
“We know we’re capable of much better and you’re not going to beat the defending champions turning the ball over 27 times,” Joakim Noah said. ‘I had a big part in it. I turned the ball over too much, over-passing. I feel like I’ve just got to be a little bit more aggressive.
“They’re very, very good. You can’t be hesitant when you play against a team like this. We’ve got to do better. A lot of the mistakes that we made were our fault,” Noah continued. “We’ve got to have better spacing. We’ve got to know our strengths. But we know that we can play much better. That’s what’s frustrating. Just disappointed in the way that we played. It’s always tough to lose at your home. It’s supposed to be an exciting night. It’s a big game. To come out and play like that, disappointing.”
LeBron James continued his fantastic play during Miami’s streak, scoring a game-high 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds and seven assists.
“He’s a great player,” Thibodeau said. “The game is real easy for him. I think he’s reading the game extremely well. With a guy like that, you try to make him work for his points. That’s all you can do. You can defend him great, challenge his shot and he can make.”
Dwyane Wade added 17 points for Miami, who shot 50 percent from the field.