Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Bulls’

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CHICAGO — The streak lived a good life — a great life, actually.

Born Feb. 3, it covered 27 consecutive Miami Heat victories and lasted 52 days, destroying almost everything in its path.

The streak traveled well, too, crisscrossing North America in visiting some of the finest cities in the USA and Canada: Toronto, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Cleveland. The streak spent the rest of its time in cosmopolitan Miami. It lived a fine life, indeed.

But the streak met its demise against the shorthanded Chicago Bulls, who were missing not only star point guard Derrick Rose, but All-Star center Joakim Noah, starting guard Richard Hamilton and key reserve guard Marco Belinelli. The Bulls took an early double-digit lead, squandered it, got it back and held on for a 101-97 victory Wednesday, ending the Heat’s 27-game winning streak, the second-longest in NBA history. The Heat fell six wins shy of the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers’ 33 wins in a row.

“We’re very humble about being a part of this team and this streak,” Heat forward LeBron James said. “Ultimately we want to win an NBA championship.”

LEBRON: Heat star rips referees after loss

WATCH: LeBron’s late flagrant foul is costly

RIP, Heat streak.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged streak with his players following the loss.

“It was the first time that I had mentioned the streak,” Spoelstra said. “It was a heck of an experience to have together. Its significance will mean much more later to us in our careers. I asked them all to share the moment with each other.

“However, it has never been about the streak.”

The Bulls received strong performances from forwards Luol Deng (26 points) and Carlos Boozer (21 points, 17 rebounds) and guard-forward Jimmy Butler (17 points).

PHOTOS: Check this out….The best shots from the stunning upset….

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With the score 92-85, James missed a three-pointer and Chris Bosh got the rebound. But Kirk Hinrich stole the ball and the on the next trip down the floor, forward Taj Gibson‘s baseline jumper with 2:19 left gave Chicago a 94-85 lead.

The Heat trimmed it to four a couple more times, but never got closer. Timely shooting propelled the Bulls. Whenever it looked like Miami might make a bigger dent in Chicago’s lead, the Bulls responded.

Butler hit a corner three-pointer extending Chicago’s lead to 86-78. Boozer hit two free throws after the Heat made it 91-85 and put back a missed shot making it 96-89 with 57 seconds left.

“More often than not, it comes down to that,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It’s a loose ball, a hustle play.”

BULLS: Second-leading career rebounder dies

WATCH: Kirk Hinrich tries to tackle LeBron, fails

Chicago, which had not been plays its normally strong defense lately, held the Heat offense down with physical play. The Bulls outrebounded the Heat 43-31, including 12-6 on the offensive end.

“Miami is a great team, and you have play great from start to finish,” Thibodeau said. “Overall, I did think we played start to finish and stepped up. … We did a great job. Great job.”

Some of the Heat’s closest calls during the streak were marked by uninspired starts, and a slow start finally doomed the Heat. The Heat trailed by 13 points in the first and second quarters and didn’t get much help from any player except James.

Second-chance and fastbreak points allowed the Bulls — 39-31 and in fifth place in the Eastern Conference — to pull off the upset.

“It says we have a good team,” reserve forward Taj Gibson said. “A lot of people kind of write us off every other day. But we just stick to our principles and do what we have to do. … Guys just understood to go out and play hard and take hard fouls. It’s playoff basketball.”

James finished with 32 points, seven rebounds and two assists. As great as he is, James couldn’t win this game by himself.

Miami had been receiving strong play from its second unit, but its bench scored just 17 points. Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who played after missing the previous two games with a sore right knee, had 18 points. Chris Bosh posted 21 points, but no other Heat player reached double figures.

Now, the Heat, who embraced the streak for its rarity and sustained excellence, can focus on its main goal: winning a second consecutive NBA championship.

“We have had a bigger goal in mind,” Spoelstra said.

PHOTOS: Also check this out…. Remember the Heat’s 27-game streak…..

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Collected from-www.usatoday.com

 

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose said after the morning shootaround that he will not make his season debut against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, and with just 13 games left before the playoffs, Rose still doesn’t know if he’ll return this season from May 12 ACL surgery.

“Same, just taking my time and that’s about it,” Rose said when asked for an update on his health. “Been the same way for a couple of months now.”

Rose has been medically cleared to play, a source told ESPNChicago.com on March 7, but he still wasn’t confident dunking off his left leg. He has been scrimmaging 5-on-5 since Feb. 18.

 

RoseWhen you have surgery, you’ve got to grow patience. I’ve been patient for the last eight or nine months. I’ve been good.

— Derrick Rose

 

“I really don’t know, man,” Rose said. “Like I said, it’s in God’s hands. Every day I’m just waking up to try and be the best player, try and produce every time I step on the court, just try and get better as a player, and who knows when?”

 

Heat star LeBron James said the decision on when to return solely belongs to Rose.

 

“All I can comment on is from the outside looking in,” James said after the Heat’s shootaround at the United Center on Wednesday morning. “I don’t know. I’m not around him every day. I’ve been quoted before and same thing I feel — when Derrick Rose is ready and he’s feeling confident that he’s ready to come back and play, then that’s when he’ll make his choice. He should be the only one who decides that.

 

“No one else is playing for him. No one else has to put on the uniform and go out here and play at a high level. He’s the guy that has to do that. When he’s confident, when he’s ready, then he should come back. Before then, he shouldn’t worry about it.”

 

James admitted he misses competing against Rose.

“I love competing against the best,” James said. “He’s one of the best. I think the NBA as a whole, as a competitor you miss him on the floor, even on off days not being able to watch him out on the floor for the Bulls. It sucks, but health is No. 1 in our league. We’ll see him back soon.”

 

Despite a number of home games recently, coach Tom Thibodeau said it hasn’t been ideal for getting Rose the practice time he needs to assist in recovery.

“We have the back-to-back [games], so it really hasn’t been a lot of time to work full court,” Thibodeau said. “But he’s doing fine.”

Rose was asked if it will be hard to watch his teammates play the NBA champions. The Heat bring a 27-game winning streak into the contest.

“That’s every game,” Rose said. “Knowing it’s the Heat adds to it a little bit, but I’ve got a lot of confidence in my guys and the coaching staff here. Hopefully we can go out there and get a win.”

If anything, Rose has learned to have patience while trying to recover.

“It’s not hard [to have patience] at all,” he said. “When you have surgery, you’ve got to grow patience. I’ve been patient for the last eight or nine months. I’ve been good.”

If Rose doesn’t get into a game this season, he said that after a full summer of working out he doesn’t expect there to be any hesitation when he steps on the court to begin next season.

“Not at all,” he said. “I know the confidence I have in myself in what type of player I am, so when I step on the court I think I’m going to be better, I know I’m going to be better, so I’m not worried about that.”

Bulls team physician Brian Cole said after the surgery that part of returning to 100 percent will be for Rose to play short minutes in actual games and build on that. Rose, though, doesn’t think that will be an issue if he doesn’t play this season.

“I think I’m just going to be a better player,” Rose said. “When I step on the court, I’m going to ball. I’m not going to think about it. I’m just going to be out there reacting, so right now, just taking my time and dealing with the whole situation.”

After practices and shootarounds, as well as before games, Rose has remained on the court to get in some extra work. He has also kept a constant dialog with Thibodeau.

Rose

From preps to the Bulls, ESPN Chicago focuses on point guard Derrick Rose.

“He’s been cool, man, definitely been cool,” Rose said. “He’s been letting me know that he’s been watching me work out and how hard I’ve been going. So hearing that from him, that’s a plus. But he’s been cool.

“He’s just been trying to stay focused, trying to put all the attention on the guys. I’ve been in the back trying to make sure the guys are getting the attention because they’re the ones that are playing every day, practicing every day.”

In essence, Rose has been trying to act as another assistant coach until he can get back to playing.

“You have to be as a leader on the team,” Rose said. “When the guys come in the locker room, I tell them what I see. It’s up to them to take the information and run with it. If not, they just go about their business, but they’re always going to hear me.”

Fans attending Wednesday night’s game will receive a Rose bobblehead.

“It would have been perfect if I was playing, but I guess not,” he said.

In other Bulls injury news, Joakim Noah will be a game-time decision because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Noah has missed the last two games with the injury that has affected him at various times since January.

 

“I just think you want to be smart,” Thibodeau said about a cautious approach with Noah. “That’s the big thing right now. He’s a lot better than he was yesterday. We’ll see how he feels tonight.”

 

If Noah can’t play, Thibodeau said he is prepared to attack the Heat with a small lineup. Taj Gibson could get the start if Noah isn’t ready to go.

 

Marco Belinelli also is a game-time decision with an abdominal strain.

 

ESPNChicago.com’s Scott Powers contributed to this story.