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Thursday, February 21, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Heat 86, Bulls 67

By Nick Friedell

CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Miami Heat cruised to an 86-67 win over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night at the United Center.

How it happened: LeBron James dominated the game on both ends of the floor, scoring 26 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing out seven assists as the Heat rolled to an impressive win. Dwyane Wade added 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists while Chris Bosh had 12 points. Joakim Noah almost pulled off another triple-double for the Bulls with 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, but it wasn't enough as the Bulls struggled to find an offensive rhythm without Kirk Hinrich (elbow) on the floor. The Heat's defense was too much for the Bulls to overcome, and the Bulls didn't help themselves at all by playing one of their sloppiest games of the season.

What it means: Tom Thibodeau preached for the past few days about how his team needed to protect the ball in order to beat the Heat. That didn't happen Thursday night. The Bulls were sloppy all night and got frustrated by Miami's pressure. James did whatever he wanted on the floor, and the Bulls couldn't find a way to stop him. What gets lost in James' brilliance is that he forced Luol Deng to chase him around all night and that helped lead to Deng's poor offensive showing. The veteran forward was just 3-for-12 from the field.

Hits: Marquis Teague had a nice night off the bench for the Bulls, scoring six points and pulling down five rebounds in 20 minutes.

Misses: Aside from Deng's poor night, Jimmy Butler and Marco Belinelli combined to go 0-for-7 from the field.

Stat of the night: The Bulls turned the ball over 17 times in the first half -- 27 for the game.

What's next: The Bulls are right back at it Friday night when they take on the Charlotte Bobcats.