Final / OT
1:00 PM ET, March 9, 2014
United Center, Chicago, IL
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Hard-nosed Jimmy Butler embodies all the characteristics coach Tom Thibodeau wants his players to have, writes Nick Friedell. Blog>
LeBron James started the week scoring 61 points. He ended it, however, by not getting to the free throw line once, writes Brian Windhorst. Dime>
Even so, they'll take this.
"I want what they have -- a championship," Noah said. "One day, we're going to have to get through those guys."
The Heat have owned them when it counts in recent seasons.
With a healthy Derrick Rose and the No. 1 seed in 2011, Chicago fell to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals. Last year, with Rose out, the Heat knocked off the Bulls in the second round on the way to their second straight championship.
"It's still a good win," Butler said. "It gives us confidence we can beat them. But ... in the playoffs, like Thibs said, we can't go around them; you're going to have to go through them."
Dwyane Wade scored 25 for Miami, but with James struggling again, the Heat dropped their third straight to match their longest losing streak of the season.
James scored 17 points on 8-of-23 shooting and couldn't come through after Miami blew a 12-point lead down the stretch. With a chance to win it at the end of regulation, he got stripped by Butler on a layup attempt.
In overtime, it was all Bulls.
Chicago outscored Miami 9-2, starting with Augustin's 3 just under a minute in. Butler added a jumper from the wing, Noah scored on a putback and Butler hit two free throws to make it 95-86 with 1:33 left before James made a layup.
Noah also had seven assists and five blocks with his dad -- tennis great Yannick Noah -- looking on.
Heat star LeBron James hasn't been himself since torching the Bobcats for 61 points last Monday. Here's a look at how James has fared in the three games since:
|Mon. vs Bobcats||Since|
|-- ESPN Stats & Information|
Butler added 16 points and 11 rebounds while containing James.
Wade tried to carry the load for Miami, particularly in the early going. Chris Bosh scored 15, but James had another rough afternoon. The four-time MVP is 23 for 59 in the three games since his career-high and franchise-record 61-point effort against Charlotte last week.
James also went without a mask from the start to protect his broken nose, after ditching it during the previous game. He said it was simply uncomfortable, so he decided to play without it even though he was not cleared to do so.
The Bulls got back into it after the Heat led by 12 late in the third quarter.
Augustin's 3-pointer and Butler's steal and two free throws put Chicago ahead 75-74 midway through the fourth.
It was 82-82 with just over two minutes left when Noah blocked a layup by James. Taj Gibson raced the other way for a thunderous dunk while getting fouled by Mario Chalmers, drawing a roar from the crowd.
James tied it again on a layup with 1:10 left. Wade then stole the ball from Butler and hit two free throws after getting fouled inside by Noah to give Miami an 86-84 lead with 29.2 seconds remaining. But Kirk Hinrich quickly scooped in a runner to knot it at 86 with 20.1 seconds left.
After a timeout, James took the inbounds pass and got stripped driving for a layup along the right side by Butler to send this one to overtime.
"I dropped the ball. It's like a double entendre," James said. "I actually dropped the ball, but I dropped the ball on my team. I had it. That's a great play. I give a lot of credit to Jimmy. He got his hand on the ball, but I had the lane. I had the layup."
Things got a bit heated between James and Butler late in the first half. They got tangled going for a loose ball near the Heat basket after James tried to corral a long pass. As they hit the court, Butler's foot hit James' nose, and James appeared to push him. Both players got technicals. "Two competitors were down there," Butler said. "Whatever happened, happened. But I don't back down." James brushed it off, saying, "Just two competitors going at it, one trying not to give an edge." ... The Bulls and Heat split the season series at 2-2.
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 9: Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls takes the tip-off against Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami...(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Relentless. That's the best way to describe Joakim Noah, who put up video-game numbers (20 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 blocks). He kept coming at the Heat and eventually wore them down with his energy.
Defining moment: Noah's best sequence of the game came in overtime. Late in the extra period, he made an offensive rebound putback, then followed that up by emphatically blocking Mario Chalmers' layup attempt on the other end. Great hustle plays.
That was... uncharacteristic: It's rare to see LeBron James struggle (17 points on 8-for-23 shooting). It's even more rare to see the Heat lose three games in a row. But that's what happened today to Miami against a pesky Bulls team.
Next 5 Games
After dominating in a 61-point performance Monday, LeBron James has taken a bit of a step back. He's been unable to match that point total in his last three games combined, a span which has seen him make just one more field goal as the Heat have lost their season-worst third straight game.[+]
LeBron James Last 4 Games
After scoring 17 points against the Bulls, LeBron James has failed to score at least 20 points in consecutive games for the first time all season.
LeBron James is averaging 19.3 points per game on 39% shooting since his 61-point game, including 3-of-27 shooting outside the paint. His 4th quarter play hasn't been much better, scoring 8 points on 4-of-16 shooting in his last 3 games combined.[+]
LeBron James Points Last 4 Games
The Heat fell to 16-11 this season when LeBron shoots below his season average outside the paint (38.2%). He was 2-of-10 today and is 3-of-27 outside the paint in Miami's last 3 games, all losses.[+]
Heat W-L By LeBron James FG Pct Outside Paint
LeBron James continued to struggle shooting the ball Sunday, going 2-of-10 outside the paint. He is now 3-of-27 outside the paint in the last three games. - LeBron James did not attempt a free throw in a game for the first time since Dec. 2, 2009, against the Suns as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers (332 games).[+]
LeBron James Shooting Inside/Outside the Paint, Sunday
The Bulls held the Heat to a 45.3% effective field goal percentage, the Heat's lowest in a game this season. The Bulls had 27 second-chance points, compared to the Heat's 6. The -21 second-chance point differential is the second most for the Heat this season; the Bulls have two of three biggest second-chance point differentials against the Heat.[+]
Joakim Noah could be just the fifth center in NBA history to average 12 PPG, 11 RPG, 5 APG in a single season in NBA history. He is currently averaging 4.8 APG.[+]
ESPN Stats & Information
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