Bulls get 'big win,' snap skid vs. Heat

February, 6, 2010
2/06/10
11:15
PM CT
FRIEDELL By NICK FRIEDELL
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
The Chicago Bulls had every excuse to lose Saturday night's game against the Miami Heat.

That's why the fact that they won it shouldn't surprise you very much.
[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Dennis Wierzbicki/US PresswireDerrick Rose shoots during the first half of Saturday's game against the Miami Heat at the United Center.

Playing for the fourth time in five nights and without starting center Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis) and forward Tyrus Thomas (suspension) the Bulls pulled it together and held on to knock off the Heat 95-91, snapping a three-game losing streak.

You could tell this win meant a little more to some of players, considering some of the circumstances the team was playing under. "[The win] shows we're out there hustling," Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said. "[Noah and Thomas] are guys we really miss and they affect the game so much with rebounding and blocking shots and scoring, too. For us to pull this one out, it means a lot."

If the Bulls have proven anything this season, especially in the last couple weeks, it's that you never know exactly what to expect when you watch them. Yes, Rose and Luol Deng played well, combining for 49 points, but even recent D-League call-up Chris Richard gave the Bulls 20 solid minutes in Noah's place.

"It was a big win for us," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We will be in a fight with Miami all year. There are several teams bunched together and we were able to take care of business [Saturday night]. We were a little short handed and some guys had to play extra minutes."

One of those guys was Brad Miller. He scored 13 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had five steals.

"It definitely shows a lot about our team," Miller said of the win. "With what we got done on the road and then to hit a little bit of a rough spot, it was great to come out and get this win tonight."

"Even though we were down, we kept fighting," Rose said. "They had the lead a couple of times, but we hung in there. We're just trying to play team basketball. In the locker room even before the game, you could tell that we came in focused. I also think Chris Richard came in and helped us tonight.”

It does seem ironic that Richard, Noah's former teammate at Florida, came in and gave the Bulls a lift since he’s only been on the team for two days.

"Everything happens for a reason," Richard said. "I feel like I got a little bit better in this whole thing. I grew as a person and as a basketball player [in the D-League]. Everything happens for a reason. We'll wait and see what outcome comes from this."

There's no telling what Richard will do from here, but you can bet the team is happy to snap this skid before the All-Star break.

Can they keep it up now?

Come on, it's the Bulls -- you already know the answer.

Line of the night: Rose, when asked if he gets his days crossed up with the hectic NBA schedule:

"That always happens. People always laugh at me, all my friends laugh at me because it could be a Saturday and it feels like a Monday. I'll be like, ‘What day is it?’ They'll be like, ‘Man, it's Saturday. We got stuff to do.’ I'm like, ‘Man, I'm going to go home.’ They get mad at me sometimes and say I'm forgetful and stuff like that, but you really don't know what days it is when you don't keep in touch with it."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5