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                   === Noah, Boozer boost Bulls over Heat ===
 
 Chicago,  IL (SportsNetwork.com)  -  Joakim  Noah recorded  17  points and  15
 rebounds  and Carlos Boozer added 27 and nine as the Chicago Bulls pounded the
 Miami Heat, 107-87, at the United Center.
 
 Luol   Deng  made   four  of  Chicago's  10  3-pointers  in  another  20-point
 performance,  and  Taj Gibson came off  the bench and contributed 19 points in
 the surprisingly easy win.
 
 The  Bulls,  who were coming off  their first home  loss of the season and had
 dropped  six  of their previous  seven, made half of  their shots and held the
 Heat to 17 points below their season average.
 
 "It's been a tough couple of weeks, but it feels good to win," Noah said.
 
 Miami  was abused  down low for the second straight game, getting outrebounded
 by a 49-27 margin while allowing 24 second-chance points.
 
 LeBron James had a team-high 21 points but no other Heat player really stepped
 up in the absence of Dwyane Wade.
 
 "We  didn't step up to the challenge," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra admitted. "We
 have to own it. That's the first part. The answer has to come from that locker
 room."
 
 The  Bulls received a glimmer of hope hours before the game when Derrick Rose,
 in  his  first public  appearance since  undergoing surgery  on his torn right
 meniscus, did not completely rule out a return for the postseason.
 
 The rest of the team gave the Chicago fan base every reason to believe it will
 be back in the postseason with Thursday's performance. The Bulls never trailed
 after tying the game at 6-6 just 2:30 into the game.
 
 Deng  drained  a 3-pointer  just before  the first-quarter  buzzer to give the
 Bulls  a 29-20  cushion, then hit another  from long range early in the second
 for a 36-24 Chicago cushion.
 
 A  9-0 run later  in the quarter pushed the Bulls' lead to 45-28, and it was a
 58-44 game in Chicago's favor at the break.
 
 There  were apparently  no adjustments  at halftime  for Miami,  as the  third
 quarter played out much the same way the first half did.
 
 Chicago  held  a comfortable 72-47  advantage following a Tony Snell 3-pointer
 3:09 into the third, which ended with the hosts sporting an 85-63 lead.
 
 With James on the bench, the Heat cut their deficit to as low as 12 with 5 1/2
 minutes to play, but Chicago scored the next seven points to ice things.
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 Miami  upended the Bulls,  107-95, in the season opener for both teams ... The
 Heat had their 10-game winning steak snapped by Detroit on Tuesday ... Chicago
 improved  to 6-1  at home ... Wade  saw out for the second straight game, this
 time  because of  an illness  ... Deng  has scored  20 or  more points  in six
 straight games ... Miami had a five-game road winning streak snapped.
 
 
 12/06 01:47:43 ET