Sustained energy has been hard to come by for the Chicago Bulls.
The season followed the same script – building a lead in the first half only to let it slip away. So when the Miami Heat began chipping away at a second-half lead on Saturday — cutting a 27-point deficit to just three points — it appeared the Bulls were poised to repeat their biggest weakness.
Instead, the Bulls absorbed the pressure to hold on for a 113-99 win at the United Center. DeMar DeRozan dropped in from the middle for a team-high 24 points. Patrick Beverley drove from sideline to sideline and scored 17 points, while Coby White led a barrage of shots from the 3-point line and finished with 18 points.
The result came on the heels of a double-overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, giving the Bulls a rare pair of back-to-back wins. And as they stretch to a 9-7 record following the All-Star break, the Bulls have found a small lift in their playoff run.
- The Heat routinely scorch the Bulls from behind the 3-point arc. But the Bulls were able to match the Heat from deep on another night with a higher volume of 3-point attempts, going 17-for-34 while the Heat went 10-for-37. Beverley hit four straight 3-pointers in the second quarter and went 5-for-10 from deep in a 17-point performance. Coby White went 4-for-8 on 3s and Zach LaVine 3-for-6 as six Bulls made at least one shot from deep.
- Both teams turned the ball over 14 times, but the Bulls took advantage of the opportunities they had in the open field. The Bulls scored 22 points off turnovers to the Heat’s 11. DeRozan collected three steals and White added two as the Bulls layered the perimeter with pressure.
- Accuracy powered the win for the Bulls, who shot 61.7 percent from the floor in the first half and finished 56.2 percent overall. The efficiency came from a high rate of ball movement as the Bulls committed a team-high 34 passes per 45 carries.
- Alex Caruso suffered a sprained mid-left foot in the second quarter, exiting the game after recording five points and two assists in 10 minutes. Caruso has been injury-prone and previously dealt with a similar sprain in his left leg.
- The Bulls led by as many as 27 points, but the Heat took advantage with a 15-0 run in the third quarter. The Bulls struggled to maintain momentum out of the locker room after halftime and repeated that pattern Saturday, allowing the Heat to outscore them 32-20 in the third quarter. The Heat then opened the fourth with a pair of 3-pointers, cutting the lead to four points in the final minutes of the game.
Quote from the night
After so many collapses this season, the Bulls were bolstered by their ability to weather the Heat’s second-half storm.
“I understood that this was a must-win today,” Beverley said. “After a double overtime game (Friday) we didn’t want to go out in the mud. We wanted to come out and throw the first punch. Our first punch was very hard and we were able to withstand their punches throughout the game.”
where are they staying
The Bulls improved to 33-37 to maintain their position in 10th place in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls face a home-and-home series against the 76ers, playing Monday in Philadelphia and Wednesday at the United Center.