The surging Heat came to a grinding halt with an 87-80 defeat at the NBA-leading Indiana Pacers on Sunday, snapping a seven-game winning streak. The loss dropped Miami to sixth place in the playoff race in the East, two games ahead of Boston.
The Heat return home where they have won eight straight games—scoring at least 100 points in six of those contests.
Miami played a very physical game with Indiana, as the teams combined for 49 fouls, including four technicals and two flagrant fouls. The Heat committed 11 turnovers in the first half, but were able to hang tough with stellar defense that held the Pacers to just 27 percent shooting.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of fighting in the second half,” said Eddie Jones, who had 14 points. “We just wish we could have played a little bit better. They’re a tough team, but we’re right there with them, and we feel like we can do some things.”
Miami hopes to continue its recent success against Chicago. The Heat have won eight straight from the lowly Bulls, who have lost 11 of their last 13 games.
Chicago has dropped four straight, including a 97-88 defeat to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday in the first game of a three-game road trip.
The Bulls, who have the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference, have just seven road victories this season.
Chicago’s starters combined for only 37 points in Saturday’s loss. Marcus Fizer scored all of his team-leading 15 points in the second half.
“I was trying to search for a lineup that could play hard together, and I finally found one, but by then it was a little bit too late,” Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. “We didn’t have a whole lot of life early.”