NBA Game Summary - Miami at Chicago
(Thursday, March 25th)
Final Score: Miami 103, Chicago 74
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Jermaine O'Neal ended with 24 points, as the Miami Heat crushed the Chicago Bulls, 103-74, at United Center.
Dwyane Wade had 12 points and 10 assists for the Heat, who led 63-33 at halftime before cruising to their third consecutive win. Michael Beasley added 15 points for Miami, which had six players reach double-figure scoring.
"We understand what makes us win," O'Neal said. "Not letting our offensive struggles dictate how we play defense. Over the last month or so, we've been playing great defense and it's been giving us easy offensive possessions."
Hakim Warrick scored 14 to lead the Bulls, who had won their last two after dropping 10 in a row. In addition to having its win streak stopped, Chicago lost the opportunity to pick up ground in the playoff race.
The Bulls entered Thursday's contest two games behind idle Toronto for the eighth playoff spot but continued to fade with the deflating loss in which they shot just under 33 percent and recorded a season-low in points.
"There's no easy explanation," Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro said. "I thought they were more physical, quicker to the ball. Defensively, they went to us, made it more difficult. We didn't respond well."
O'Neal provided 10 of his points in the first quarter, while Quentin Richardson added nine for the Heat, who shot 12-of-21 in the frame. Richardson ended the quarter by banking in a jumper to give Miami a 31-19 advantage.
The Heat continued to draw out their lead in the second, and just past the midway point, Carlos Arroyo sank a jumper before Mario Chalmers drained a three that put Miami ahead 49-28.
Wade capped the half with two foul shots as the Heat rolled into the break with the 30-point cushion.
Miami did most of its damage in the first half, when it shot 60.5 percent (26- of-43). The Bulls never caught up, as the Heat extended their lead to as many as 39 en route to the blowout victory.
The victory put the Heat into sixth in the East, a half-game in front of idle Charlotte...Miami took a 3-1 win in the season series for the second consecutive year...Chicago's previous season-low in points was 78, which the Bulls posted in a loss to Toronto on December 5...Udonis Haslem had 14 points for Miami, while Arroyo and Chalmers each scored 10...Taj Gibson had 12 points and 10 boards for Chicago. Derrick Rose shot 5-of-16 from the field and ended with 12 points.
03/26 01:57:12 ET