Morning Box Score: With LeBron in Lineup, Bulls Beat Heat

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 25, 2011 3:45PM

Last time the Miami Heat came to town, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose had a shootout for the ages, but an asterisk was put on the Bulls win by some as LeBron James didn't suit up for the game. King James took the court last night, in a matchup of the two leading candidates for NBA MVP in himself and Rose. The result was the same, as the Bulls held the Heat to 36 second-half points and Luol Deng hit the winning trey for a 93-89 win.

As for the James-Rose matchup, neither disappointed. James scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, setting the tone early with some emphatic breakaway dunks as the Heat built a 53-44 halftime lead. But Rose (team-high 24 points) scored an array of tough layups and jumpers that were all contested.

In the larger matchup of the Bulls "Big Three" (Rose, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah) versus the Heat's Holy Trinity of James, wade and Chris Bosh, it was a wash. the Heat, in spending most of their salary cap on three players, were exposed for their lack of bench depth again. More alarming for Heat fans, last night's game once again showed that all three stars need to be at the top of their games against elite competition in order to win. Bulls tv color analyst Stacey King put out an APB for Bosh last night, who scored 7 points on 1 of 18 shooting; Wade had a game-high 34. Noah, for what it's worth, had a bad game in his second contest back from thumb surgery. But the Bulls showed that they built a deeper team with the money they couldn't spend because Wade, James and Bosh took their talents to South Beach. Omer Asik played tough defense in the second half and finished with 11 rebounds, while Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver and Taj Gibson all made solid contributions off the bench.

But the MVP of the game was Deng, who found himself taking the toughest defensive assignments while scoring 20 points and 10 rebounds, including that game-winning three-point shot after Wade moved to help defend Rose in the paint and Rose kicked the ball out to Deng.

More worries for the Heat: they are now 0-5 against the Bulls and Boston Celtics.