The Heat could not overcome a 25-point first-quarter deficit, falling in the first of two straight to the Chicago Bulls Thursday evening 124-116 inside Kaseya Center in Miami, Fla.
Within the blink of an eye, the Chicago Bulls, who never trailed, rallied to a 33-8 first-quarter lead. The Heat, who finished the first quarter on a 14-3 run, eventually trimmed the deficit to four before halftime, but were not able to get over the hump in the second half and sputtered late.
After trailing 113-109 with 2:28 left, an Ayo Dosumnu wing 3-pointer followed by a 15-foot DeMar DeRozan jumper, a symbolic end to evening mired by a poor defensive for the Heat, which all but sealed their fate.
The Bulls shot 48.4 percent from the floor and 14-of-36 (38.9 percent) from 3-point range, though they only made 20-of-30 from the charity stripe.
Miami wasn’t much better, especially in situations where it could’ve gained more of a stranglehold on the deficit late. It shot 46.3 percent and 44.1 percent (15-34) from deep, marking the fourth straight game where they’ve knocked down 15 3-pointers as a team after having just four over their first 21 games. But Miami only converted on 27 of its 35 attempts, which was ultimately the difference.
Coby White led the Bulls with 26 points, seven rebounds and 11 assists on 9-of-20 shooting, including 4-of-11 from distance. Ayo Dosumnu had 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting off the bench with eight rebounds and five assists.
Nikola Vucevic sliced and diced the Heat in the second half, finishing with 24 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and three steals on 10-of-21 shooting. DeRozan finished with 23 points on 6-of-14 shooting and 10-of-11 from the free-throw line.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. posted yet another game with double figures (12 straight … not that anyone’s counting), finishing with 22 points, four rebounds and four assists. Jimmy Butler had 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. on 6-of-15 shooting.
Caleb Martin and Kyle Lowry finished with 17 points apiece, though Martin tallied a team-high 11 rebounds and four assists. Kevin Love found his mojo after a rough Wednesday evening, posting 16 points on 5-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-8 from deep.
The Heat will have an opportunity to split the series against the Bulls Saturday at 8:00 p.m. EST.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates.
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