Heat’s Seven-Game Triumph Derailed by Bulls in 102-97 Upset Loss

CHICAGO — Even with a breezy start Saturday night, there still was no easy button for the Miami Heat.

So from a 22-1 lead at the outset against the Chicago Bulls there eventually was a scramble to the finish.

And now there no longer is a winning streak for Erik Spoelstra’s team.
Bulls erase 21-point deficit and end Heat winning streak at 7 games

For a team that entered on a seven-game winning streak without a single double-digit victory this season, even the best of times had been some of the most grueling times.

The start of this five-game trip was no different, even with a double-digit lead midway through the fourth quarter and eventually a 102-97 loss, the Bulls never leading until the final minute.

Next up, a rerun, when the teams meet Monday night back at the United Center.

Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 25 points, with Bam Adebayo adding 24 points and 10 rebounds.

DeMar DeRozan led Chicago with 23 points, including the decisive scores.

Five Degrees of Heat from Saturday night’s game:

— 1. Closing time: The Heat led 22-1 at the outset and 26-14 at the close of the first quarter. Chicago then closed within two in the second period, before the Heat pushed back to a 50-40 halftime lead. The Bulls had scored 33 first-half points in each of their previous two games, home losses to the Orlando Magic.

The Heat then went up 14 in the third, with a 76-68 lead going into the fourth.

From there, the Bulls closed within 87-84 with 5:54 to play on a Zach LaVine 3-pointer, only to have it countered by a Duncan Robinson 3-pointer, for a six-point Heat edge. But back came LaVine with another 3-pointer, to again draw Chicago within three.

Butler tried to keep the Heat afloat at that point, only to see DeRozan tie it with a 3-pointer with 1:39 to go, the game’s first tie.

After a missed Butler jumper, Alex Caruso drained a 3-pointer for a 97-94 Chicago edge, the Bulls’ first lead, but that’s when Butler stepped up with a 3-pointer to tie it 97-97.

A DeRozan jumper with 21.9 seconds left put the Bulls up two, with Butler going for, and missing, a 3-pointer on the other end.

Bulls 102-97 Heat (19 Nov, 2023) Final Score - ESPN (PH)

Fouled with 10.9 seconds to play, DeRozan made both free throws to put it away.

— 2. Adebayo again: While the matchup against Bulls center Nikola Vucevic has historically been a tough proposition for the Heat, Adebayo this time seized control in the middle.

Adebayo was up to 18 points at halftime, on 5 of 6 from the field and 8 of 8 from the line. At one point, Adebayo had six rebounds to one for Vucevic.

Adebayo stood with 24 points and eight rebounds through three quarters.

He closed 8 of 12 from the field, 8 of 8 from the line.

— 3. Butler, too: While the two-man game isn’t necessarily the Heat’s game of choice, with the bench particularly uneven, Butler also stepped up his game.

He was up to 18 points entering the fourth quarter, coming off 32- and 36-point games in victories, respectively, over the Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets.

Butler opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, extending his streak to a career-best seven consecutive games with a conversion.

He closed 8 of 16 from the field and 7 of 7 from the line.

— 4. Early Blitz: It was yet another shaky start for the Bulls, the Heat bursting to that 22-1 lead.

Entering the game, Bulls coach Billy Donovan said, “Either you’re going to come out to the ring like Mike Tyson or you’re going to come just kind of bobbing and weaving. And we’ve got to come out that way (like Tyson). We have to come out that way. And we have to be able to sustain it.”

Bulls 102-97 Heat (19 Nov, 2023) Final Score - ESPN (PH)

Didn’t happen.

The Heat opened 9 of 11 from the field, the Bulls 0 for 11 with four turnovers.

Worse, the Bulls used their coach’s challenge with 5:48 to play in the opening period to try to overturn a charge drawn by Kyle Lowry. The challenge was unsuccessful.

The Bulls’ first basket finally came on a driving layup by LaVine 7:12 into the game.

— 5. Do it again: The game was the first of six times the Heat this season will face the same team in consecutive games and the first of two times it will happen on the road (also March 15 and March 17 against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena).

The Heat also have three such pairings at home, including Dec. 14 and Dec. 16 against the Bulls at Kaseya Center, as well as the Charlotte Hornets on the road and then at home next month.

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