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Bulls put an end to Heat’s 27-game winning streak

Mar 27, 2013, 11:33 PM EDT

Miami Heat's James holds his face after a play as Chicago Bulls' Boozer looks on, during their NBA basketball game in Chicago

The Heat weren’t expecting to see their 27-game winning streak snapped in Chicago on Wednesday, due to the Bulls being shorthanded and playing without Joakim Noah, Rip Hamilton, and Marco Belinelli due to injury.

But that’s the thing about winning streaks, and it’s also the reason that the NBA record of 33 straight wins set by the Lakers way back in the 1971-72 season still stands — they come to an end when you least expect it.

The Bulls beat the Heat 101-97, which gave Miami its first loss since February 1, and snapped the second-longest winning streak in NBA history in the process.

The streak wasn’t going to go on forever. It just seemed like the version of the Bulls that took the floor on Wednesday wouldn’t have the necessary firepower to stop it.

Chicago jumped out to a 13-2 lead to start the game, which had Miami playing catch-up from essentially the opening tip. That wasn’t necessarily that big of an issue for this Heat team, considering the multiple times they’ve come back from double-digit deficits during this streak to come back and win games, and win them convincingly.

Against the Bulls, however, it posed a problem.

When the Heat took the lead (as expected) late in the third quarter, behind an increased defensive intensity that held the Bulls to just 14 points in the period on 31.6 percent shooting while forcing six turnovers, Chicago didn’t fold like so many other opponents of Miami’s have in the past.

The Bulls responded and battled, and seemed to want it more than Miami as the game headed down the stretch.

The key run from Chicago came with just over seven and a half minutes to play in the fourth, with the Bulls clinging to a two-point lead. Two three-pointers from Luol Deng, with a runner in the lane from Kirk Hinrich in between, pushed the Bulls lead to eight with just over six minutes to play. That sequence was followed by an and-1 from Dwyane Wade, but Jimmy Butler answered with another three for Chicago to send the advantage back to eight with under five and a half remaining.

The best way to describe the rest of the game from that point was the Bulls finding a way, possession after possession, to withstand the Heat’s best shot.

LeBron James was called for a flagrant foul for lowering a shoulder into the chest of Carlos Boozer who was setting a screen on the perimeter with under four minutes to play — a questionable call in terms of it being ruled a flagrant, but a clear sign that James was experiencing frustration nonetheless.

Miami couldn’t put together a late run thanks to the defensive identity of the Bulls that was on display in the flesh in the final few minutes, and Nate Robinson, somewhat fittingly, got into the lane for a layup with 30 seconds left that pushed the Bulls lead to nine and put the game officially out of reach.

James finished with a stellar statistical line of 32 points on 11-17 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, and four blocked shots. Wade had 18 points and Chris Bosh finished with 21, but no other player from Miami was able to crack double figures.

Deng played like the All-Star he’s been for the past two seasons in this one, especially in the fourth quarter, where he finished with 12 of his team-high 28 points. Boozer was more than solid with 21 points and 17 rebounds, and Hinrich’s feisty and fearless effort defending James at times helped set the tone from an energy standpoint for his undermanned Bulls team.

The streak had to end at some point, and it’s worth noting that having it happen now, with 11 games left in the regular season, is probably just fine with the Heat.

Remember, the Spurs entered the playoffs a season ago riding a 10-game winning streak, and ran it to 20 through the first three rounds of the postseason. But once it finally ended, they lost four straight and were eliminated from title contention.

Gregg Popovich wouldn’t want to go through that again, and Bosh has already said that winning another championship would be much more meaningful than breaking the all-time record for consecutive wins could ever be.

Those are the silver linings the Heat will find as they reflect on the streak coming to an end in Chicago. It was an impressive run that will be remembered, but Miami’s hopes are that it will be a mere footnote to a season that ends in nothing short of a second straight NBA title.

  1. themars211 - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    Hey to you Heat fans that was talking about Lebrons dunk on Jason Terry……Jimmy Butler putting his nuts on the back of Chris Bosh neck……now thats a dunk to stare down somebody about….dude had at least 5 inches on Butler…lol

  2. itsthemelman82 - Mar 28, 2013 at 1:28 AM

    Been saying The Bulls are mentally too strong & The Heat wouldn’t wanna see them in the playoffs if they were healthy! Lebron you mad huh???

  3. jhuck92 - Mar 28, 2013 at 1:54 AM

    I honestly can’t think of a better, harder working team to end the Heat’s streak than the Chicago Bulls! Great game from start to finish, and LeBron at least tried to keep it classy.

  4. kavika6 - Mar 28, 2013 at 2:24 AM

    I knew the streak would be over when they finally play against a team over .500. Now they’ll lose at least 2 out of 3 when they play against the full Spurs roster in San Antonio.

  5. cantonbound13 - Mar 28, 2013 at 6:51 AM

    Hahahaha!!!! Only one thing will make this better, if move back commits suicide it would be the best sports day ever! Sadly the streak was all he had going for himself.

    • iknowzeroaboutsports - Mar 28, 2013 at 10:55 AM

      Another idiot with a keyboard.

  6. thechock305 - Mar 28, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    Oh, Canton you’re so funny. Wait didn’t they win like that last year and have been to 2 finals with them. Canton>A-Hole

  7. miamatt - Mar 28, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    Nothing but respect for what Chicago did last night. They went out and fought their way to a well deserved win.

    The Heat streak is still one of the most amazing runs I’ve witnessed, but now all attention can be focused on the playoffs.

    • cantonbound13 - Mar 28, 2013 at 8:12 AM

      That fact that you learned to count to 27 was the most impressive thing for me. Don’t give up just because this bogus streak is over, you can do it! Try for 30!!!

    • florida727 - Mar 28, 2013 at 9:29 AM

      I’m a Bulls fan, Matt, and not looking to take a cheap shot at the Heat or diminish what they’d done, but this isn’t anything at all close to an “amazing run”. Don’t get me wrong. I still think your team is the best in the NBA and will likely repeat, but there are other amazing runs in sports far more impressive than this. Mainly because the talent level in the NBA is diluted, even compared to what the Lakers had to face during their 33 game streak. The Blackhawks in hockey playing, literally, half their season without a loss? The Bulls going an entire 82 games season with only 10 losses? UCLA winning 10 national championships in a 12 year period? Much more impressive in my opinion.

      • fanofthegame79 - Mar 28, 2013 at 10:21 AM

        You know what I hate about people like you: you would find a way to make a full glass of water look bad. “Hey, there’s a floatie in that water…”. Bottom line for this streak: it’s been done ONE other time in NBA history. Wait, let me say that again: 27 STRAIGHT WINS HAS ONLY BEEN BESTED BY ONE OTHER TEAM IN NBA HISTORY. Read that for a third and fourth time. If you want to insult your own intelligence by spewing your dumbness, go for it. But to claim that the Heat won 27 games in a row because we have a watered-down NBA is worst than dumb. If your logic held any water, there would be more teams running off 25+ wins in a row. There are 32 other teams in the NBA (right?) and yet the highest win streak aside from the Heat was 18. That means the Heat had almost 10 more STRAIGHT wins. At some point, people (rabid sports fans) need to put aside their pettiness and just have fun watching history. And while the Heat didn’t break the all-time record of 33 straight wins, they did set the mark for defending NBA champions at 27. For those who don’t know, that’s 9 more than the previous mark. And that would include champions like the Lakers, Celtics, Bulls, etc. So please stop with the “this streak was made possible by a watered-down NBA”. Because if you really want to nitpick, we can also say that there were 2 professional basketball leagues when the Lakers had their 33-game streak in the early 70’s.

      • Kurt Helin - Mar 29, 2013 at 10:28 AM

        The longest win streak was 33 (1972 Lakers).

      • nobandwagonridersallowed - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        @ florida727… “I’m a Bulls fan, Matt, and not looking to take a cheap shot at the Heat or diminish what they’d done, but this isn’t anything at all close to an “amazing run”. Don’t get me wrong”

        Umm, you did diminish what they accomplished… Why are you comparing the streak to what other sports did?? We’re talking about the game of basketball here, and only 1 team has won more games in a row in the HISTORY of the game than them… Much props to that Laker team which still holds supreme with 33 consecutive… Much props to the Bulls for battling constantly and making big shot after big shot to pull off this victory.

        Most importantly, congrats to the Heat Haters. You all got what you wanted. Lol. If you were really smart, you would’ve been hoping the streak continued so that Miami would come into the playoffs with super tired legs and mental fatigue… Now they get to enjoy nights off and can focus back at the main task at hand, which is winning another title. Lmbo! The way most people think is what has them in whatever situations they may be currently in whether good or not so good. Smh. I’m just saying

  8. paulhargis53 - Mar 28, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    Ask lakerluver why he’s not posting on lakers stories. Its gotten to the point that his own fellow fans of the lakers are turning on him. Dude you’re a caricature.

    You’re a detestable person and this site was much better off without you, much like the planet would be.

    Why don’t you pull a Micheal Hutchence?

  9. rk7213 - Mar 28, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    this streak should have an asterisk

    the NBA is a joke. the top players will only play for a handful of teams. add in “the decision” (more like the concession) and no wonder we saw two 14 game winnings streaks at the same time for the 1st time in NBA history.

  10. bigwii - Mar 28, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    It was a nice steak but the best streak will always belong to my Celtics. Let me know when someone gets 8 championships in a row.

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