Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/5/13
MIAMI – The Miami Heat, next-to-last in the league in rebounding, has known for a while that their board work is an issue. But if they needed a reminder, the Chicago Bulls (18-13) pounded the point home. The Bulls owned the boards, 48-28, and handed the Heat a rare home loss, 96-89, on Friday night at American Airlines Arena. "We got every rebound," said an excited albeit technically incorrect Bulls center Joakim Noah. "We dominated them. It always feels good to beat the Heat. And now we have a night off in the city. We're hyped right now." The Heat (22-9) slipped to 15-3 at home and lost for the first time this season in games in which they were outrebounded by 12 or more. They are 4-1 in those situations. "There's not a whole lot to say -- you guys can already write your stories," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said as he began his post-game press conference. "Everybody in both locker rooms understands what the overwhelming key was, and we've got to get better. "We did OK on our initial defense, but then they threw it up and played volleyball. They pounded us." The Bulls had a 20-7 advantage on second-chance points and had a 46-34 edge on points in the paint. On offensive rebounds, the Bulls led 19-4. Even so, the Heat, trailing by six with 1:30 remaining, had a chance to get back in the game when LeBron James was fouled with a clear path to the basket. Because of the foul, James got two free throws, and the Heat got the extra possession with the chance to cut the lead to two or even one point. But James made only one free throw, Chris Bosh was charged with a turnover and another Bulls offensive rebound, this time by Jimmy Butler, led to a Carlos Boozer layup and a 93-86 Chicago lead with 46 seconds left. That virtually sealed the deal. Noah and Boozer had double-doubles for the Bulls. Boozer had 27 points and 12 rebounds. Noah had 13 points and 12 rebounds. The Bulls got some key contributions off the bench from Nate Robinson (13 points, three steals) and Butler (eight points, five rebounds). "You have to make hustle plays against the Heat, and I thought Butler had some very good minutes," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Nate made some shots, and we needed it." James led the Heat with 30 points but his rebounds (6) and assists (2) were below his high standards. Dwyane Wade had 22 points -- his seventh game in a row with 20 or more. Bosh added 14 points, but the Heat were held to 5-of-20 shooting on 3-pointers. The rebounding, though, was a bigger concern for Spoelstra. "If I'm not mistaken, the main players outside of Ray (Allen) who played in our rotation last season are the same as this year," the coach said. "It's not rotation." Heat forward Shane Battier praised the Bulls as one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the league and said the Miami players have to "stick our noses in there." Bosh was clearly frustrated. "They are bigger than us," he said. "They went and got it -- point blank, period." NOTES: The Bulls continued a trend where they are playing better on the road (9-5) than at home (9-8). The Bulls are also 8-1 on the road against Eastern Conference teams. ... James, bothered by a knee contusion suffered against Dallas on Wednesday, started as usual. Before the game, Spoelstra said James has some "knick-knack" injuries. "He's not superhuman," the coach said. ... Noah, who missed Wednesday's game against the Magic because of the flu, was back in the starting lineup. ... Point guard Derrick Rose, who is still a month or two away from playing, joined the Bulls on their current road trip, the first time he has done that since he tore his ACL on April 28. "This is the next step," Thibodeau said. "He is doing more and more in terms of practicing with the team, but he still needs to focus on his rehab." ... The Heat are 6-1 in games decided by three points or less or have gone into overtime. ... Up next, the Heat play host to Washington on Sunday night before starting a six-game road trip. ... The Bulls return home for its game against Cleveland on Monday night.
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