CHICAGO (TICKER) —While they have almost no success on the road, the Chicago Bulls have become a dangerous team at home.
Chicago posted its fourth straight win at home and improved to 23-12 at the United Center this season. The Bulls are just 3-34 on the road.
“It’s Jekyll and Hyde, night and day, hot and cold, heaven and hell, all the analogies you can use,” Rose said. “The bottom line is we’re not getting it done on the road. In order for us to be consistent and a team to be reckoned with, we’ve got to find ways to do that.”
“I think Curry has come into his own the past couple of weeks,” Miami center Brian Grant said. “He’s starting to realize what he can do with his size and quickness. He’s not just big, he’s quick. Chandler is full of energy. Jamal Crawford is good. They’re going to be good. They play a lot tougher here in Chicago.”
The defeat gave Miami coach Pat Riley the first 50-loss season of his career. The Heat reached the dubious mark for the first time since the 1994-95 campaign, the year before Riley took over.
Chicago took control late in the first quarter and led by as many as 16 points in the second period before settling for a 53-41 edge at intermission.
Rookie Caron Butler scored 16 points for the Heat, who shot just 29.5 percent (23-of-78) from the field.
“We just can’t shoot 29 percent and expect to be close,” Riley said. “We finally started to play defense in the second half, but shooting something like 9-of-30 from the floor won’t get you back in it. Our bigs were 4-of-29.”
Both teams struggled offensively in the second half as Miami scored 33 points and Chicago just 29.
“It wasn’t a pretty one, but you know when you’re the Bulls, I guess your cup is half empty and half full,” Rose said. “You can’t win right. It was a good game. We felt we owed them a couple since they beat us up in Miami.”
The Heat, who beat Chicago twice in Miami this season, scored just one point in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the third quarter, enabling the Bulls to build a 61-42 cushion on Curry’s jumper with 7:53 left.
“That was a good game for us in the sense that Miami is a hard team to play,” Chicago coach Bill Cartwright said. “They never stop playing. They are persistent. They come at you. They hustle. They play every play out.”
After appearing to put away the game, Chicago went cold and the Heat pulled within 64-55 on former Bull Travis Best’s 3-pointer with 2:59 left.
“We had our stretches tonight where we looked bad and were not really scoring,” Chandler said. “They front the post and they are really active. With the guards diving for loose balls, it is going to make for an ugly game.”
The fourth quarter was especially ugly, with Miami outscoring Chicago, 15-12. The Heat scored eight straight points over a 3 1/2-minute span to make it 78-69 on rookie Sean Lampley’s two free throws with 4:46 left.
“Miami plays a low-scoring game and we played good defense,” Rose said
Chicago, which shot 44 percent (31-of-70), finally ended a five-minute drought on Rose’s jumper with 2:56 to go.
Eddie House and Lampley added 15 and 10 points, respectively, off the bench for the Heat, who have dropped 11 of their last 13 games overall.