In the not so distant past, a Bulls-Heat matchup, even in the regular season, would have been on an epic scale worthy of the Greeks, but now, it looks more like if Evander Holyfield and Roy Jones Jr. got into the ring together. So much that used to be great, but they are essentially just shells of their former selves. Especially with Jimmy Butler and Chris Bosh absent. The Bulls used this game as an opportunity to continue their slide, getting trounced 129-111 and dropping to 30-29 and out of the playoffs if the season ended today.
- The Heat set a franchise shooting record last night (67.5%), riding the scoring of Hassan Whiteside, Joe Johnson, and even Luol Deng. I feel like I should start there because it could be viewed two different ways. The optimist in me wants to say that shooting that well is just hard to beat, and on the bright side, the Bulls put up 111 points of their own. But the pessimist wants to acknowledge the fact that not so long ago, the Bulls were known for their stifling defense, and 129 points would just never happen. Truth be told, it’s probably a mixture of both things.
- Jimmy Butler’s absence is very, very hard to overcome. Butler has not played in nearly a month, and he is still probably about a week away. The Bulls have gone 4-7 in his absence, and on a team not built at all to survive the loss of such a key player with their lack of real depth, his continued absence will only mean more losses.
- Derrick Rose is really like the flirty ex-girlfriend who just keeps us hanging on to the past when the best part of what we had was probably over before we were ready to admit it to ourselves. With his team-leading 17 points, Tuesday’s game was a great example of the glimpses of what Rose can do when he is still his best self. Moves like this remind us of the MVP player who dominated the NBA not that long ago:
- The Bulls had a whopping seven players score in double digits against the Heat (which would normally nearly guarantee a win, but as I said earlier, allowing 67.5% from the field and 129 points pretty much negates whatever your offense does).
- The mild resurgence of Mike Dunleavy has been interesting to follow. Since his return about a month ago, he has played consistently in about half of the minutes of those games, and has posted a +/- that has typically stayed well on the plus side of the ledger. Last night he was among the double digit scorers with 10 points, chiefly on a pair of three pointers.
- Dwyane Wade was nearly overshadowed by the nights that Whiteside and Johnson had for the Heat, but he tallied 18 points himself to go with seven assists and two rebounds. Like Rose, Wade’s best days are behind him, but he can still put together an impressive night.
- Coming up: the Bulls will stay in Florida to take on the Orlando Magic tonight.