- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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How it happened: Playing without Derrick Rose (ankle, foot) for the 26th time this season, the Bulls could not find any offense. They shot just 36 percent from the field and struggled to find any consistency. John Lucas III led the Bulls with 16 points off the bench, Joakim Noah added 15 points and 10 rebounds and Luol Deng chipped in with 11 points. The Bulls now lead the Heat by just one game in the loss column for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
What it means: All teams look tired during this lockout-shortened season, but playing their fourth game in five nights caught up to the Bulls. Not only was Miami's defense strong from start to finish, the Bulls looked gassed. Aside from the fatigue, the other major problem for the Bulls is that they got basically nothing from their starting backcourt. Richard Hamilton and C.J. Watson combined to go just 1-for-9 from the field. Lucas and Deng combined to go 10-for-31 and Carlos Boozer did not bring much to the table. Boozer struggled on both ends of the floor 10 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes.
With the uncertain status regarding Rose and his ankle, the Bulls have to find a better way to produce offensively. They will not be able to play like this and get through the postseason if Rose can't return to being the player he was before he got hurt.
Bold play of the game: LeBron James' performance early set the tone in this one. He scored 15 points in the first quarter and was able to open up the floor for the rest of his teammates. The Bulls had no answer for him.
Stats of the night: The Heat out-rebounded the Bulls 45-40 and outscored them 36-20 in the paint. The Bulls went just 2-for-16 from beyond the arc.
What's next: The Bulls have a day off Friday. They will play the Dallas Mavericks Saturday night.
7hMatt Walks, ESPN.com
2dESPN Stats & Information