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Heat's chatter shows in rout of Bulls

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- According to Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, chaos in the team huddle during a timeout is music to his ears.

"Yes, we had a couple of good Miami Heat huddles in that (third) period," Spoelstra said after an 86-67 victory over Chicago at the United Center. "It is a Miami Heat huddle with everyone yelling at each other. I love it."

The Heat's lead never dropped below seven points in the second half Thursday, so tension in the huddle must be a good sign if the players care that much during a game they seemed to have well in hand.

"It is a competitive communication," Spoelstra added. "No one holds a grudge or takes it personally. It is just good. Our energy and activity can be driven by it."

This game was essentially more of the same for Miami. LeBron James produced 26 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and hit 11-of-15 shots from the field, while the Heat rolled to its ninth straight victory.

The play was also incredibly sloppy. The Bulls produced a season-high 27 turnovers, including 17 in the first half. Miami wasn't too far behind, finishing with 18 giveaways. Both teams missed several point-blank shots.

Dwyane Wade added 17 points and eight rebounds in his hometown. Chris Bosh scored 12 points and Ray Allen had 11.

"Tonight we played very competitively," Wade said. "Early on we were aggressive and got our hands on the ball. We clogged up the paint and that was one of the things we wanted to do."

The Heat took command with James on the bench early in the second quarter, posting the majority of a 13-0 run. Shane Battier started the surge with a 3-pointer, his only basket of the game, then Wade and Allen had two buckets each before James came back. His driving layup and a free throw by Bosh made it 39-28 with four minutes left in the first half.

The closest Chicago would come to making it a contest was midway through the third quarter. Joakim Noah missed a jumper that could have cut the lead to five, Luol Deng missed a shot that would have trimmed it to six, opening the door for James to score eight straight points for Miami and stretch the lead back to double digits.

"I thought we were unselfish," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We were trying to pass the ball. However, we didn't see the plays the way we should have seen the plays. I have to have our team understanding what we're trying to get accomplished out there. I also thought the level of intensity in this type of game wasn't where it should be."

James appeared to turn his ankle after a hard foul by Nate Robinson in the fourth quarter, but he stayed in the game.

Robinson led the Bulls with 14 points. Carlos Boozer had 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Noah added 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

"Every defensive plan or scheme has a weakness," Deng said. "I think you get in trouble when you play to their strength. They flood and overload where the ball is. That's when you've got to move the ball and try to find their weakness. When you play to their hand, turnovers, they get fast breaks and they get going."

Injured Bulls guard Derrick Rose shot around before the game, as usual. His older brother, Reggie, created a stir by complaining about the Bulls' lack of moves before the trade deadline.

"You know all roads to the championship lead through Miami," Reggie Rose told espn.com. "What pieces have you put together for the physical playoffs? It's frustrating to see my brother play his heart and soul out for the team and them not put anything around him."

Bulls general manager Gar Forman said the team has never heard such sentiments from Derrick Rose, who released a statement through the team.

"I have always felt that the Bulls organization's goals have been the same as mine and that is to bring another championship to this city," the statement read.

Rose participated in 5-on-5 scrimmages twice this week, the first time that's happened since he tore the ACL in his left knee last year on April 28.

NOTES: Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich sat out with continued soreness in his elbow. He missed seven games before the all-star break with a right elbow infection, then returned to the lineup on Tuesday in New Orleans. Nate Robinson started in Hinrich's place. ... Miami's Mike Miller didn't make the trip because of sinus and ear infections. Coach Erik Spoelstra expects Miller to rejoin the team if he's given permission to fly. The Heat plays in Philadelphia on Saturday before returning home. ... Miami traded reserve center Dexter Pittman to Memphis just before the trade deadline, receiving the draft rights to center Ricky Sanchez, who is currently playing in Argentina. Pittman appeared in just four games for the Heat this season, for a total of 12 minutes, and had been sent to the D-League four times. ... The Bulls made no moves as the NBA's trade deadline passed Thursday afternoon. ... Longtime NBA coach Dr. Jack Ramsey celebrated his 88th birthday by calling Thursday's game for ESPN Radio.
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