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Heat 105, Bulls 93

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- The Miami Heat delivered some payback to the team that ended its 27-game win streak, defeating the Chicago Bulls 105-93 on Sunday afternoon at AmericanAirlines Arena.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade scored 22 points each for the Heat. Chris Bosh had 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots.

The Heat, who outscored Chicago 30-23 in the third quarter to take control, improved to 36-4 at home this season, setting a franchise record for home wins.

Chicago, which got as close as seven points in the final two minutes, was led by Carlos Boozer, who 16 points and a game-high 20 rebounds.

The Bulls have lost 10 of their past 13 games on the road.

Miami and Chicago split the season series, two games each. Before Sunday, the most recent game between the teams was on March 27, when the host Bulls beat Miami 101-97, ending the second-longest win streak in NBA history.

That has been the identity of the Bulls this season -- playing to the level of their opponents. On Thursday, they ended the Knicks' 13-game win streak.

In fact, entering Sunday, the Bulls had won four straight games against playoff teams: Miami, Indiana, Brooklyn and New York.

On the flip side, though, each of the Bulls' past six losses have come against teams that will not make the playoffs.

And although the Bulls were not able to keep the trend of beating top teams going on Sunday, there may be some benefit to the loss. The Bulls are now one game back of Atlanta for the fifth seed, which would put the No. 5 team in jeopardy of facing the Heat in the second round of the NBA playoffs. As the sixth seed, where the Bulls now sit, they would not face the Heat until the Eastern Conference finals, assuming both teams make it that far.

Early in the second quarter, the Heat led 15 points. But led by Nate Robinson's 10-point second quarter, the Bulls closed the gap and trailed 56-54 at intermission.

The Heat's slim lead was startling considering they shot 65 percent from the field compared with 42 percent for Chicago. The Heat, though, was minus-five on turnovers.

NOTES: Bulls forward Rip Hamilton missed Sunday's Heat matchup because of an NBA-imposed one-game suspension. Hamilton was banned for an elbow he threw at the face of Toronto's DeMar DeRozan on Friday. Hamilton, who was immediately ejected after the incident, has missed 31 games this season and had just returned after being out for six weeks because of a back injury. ... Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Hamilton was the victim of a "tough" call. "There was a lot of grabbing and holding on the play," Thibodeau said. "The league makes those decisions. There's not much you can do about it. I am surprised, but that's what happens." ... Bulls big men Taj Gibson (knee injury) and Joakim Noah (foot) are still out. ... Heat forwards Udonis Haslem (ankle) and Shane Battier (knee) missed their second straight game. ... On Friday, James became the youngest player to log eight seasons of at least 2,000 points. ... Wade, who returned to action Friday night for the first time since missing six games with knee and ankle injuries, said his conditioning is not where it needs to be. "In the first quarter (Friday)," Wade said, "I felt like they cut off all the air in Miami."
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