Rajon Rondo made 3 of 4 free throws with 8 seconds left in the game to give the Bulls a 98-95 victory over the Miami Heat. The Bulls needed Rondo’s free throws because Josh Richardson hit a 25-foot jumper as time expired to make the final score what it was. If Rondo hadn’t made his free throws the game would’ve been headed to overtime. The Bulls improved to 5-4 with the win while the loss dropped Miami’s record to 2-5.
The Heat scored the first 8 point of the game grabbing an 8-0 lead. A Dwayne Wade dunked evened the game at 12 all. From there on in the teams where even as the Bulls took a 1-point lead after the 1st quarter at 23-22.
Miami took the lead right at the start of the 2nd quarter on a Justise Winslow 3-pointer. After talking the lead Miami was able to stretch it to 7 points. Two Nikola Mirotic free throws gave the Bulls a 1-point lead at 35-34. Miami outscored Chicago the rest of the quarter by 1 point 19 to 18 and the teams went into half time tied at 53 apiece.
Neither team played very well in the 3rd quarter. The teams swapped the lead 7 times I the quarter before ending in a 70 all tie headed into the final quarter. Each team managed just 17 points in the 3rd quarter.
The Bulls built a 5-point lead at 81-76 with 7:39 left in the game only to see the Heat score come right back and toe the game at 82 all. The Bulls then built the lead to 6 points with 4 minutes to play. The Heat was never able to tie the game again, but they did cut it to 2 points with 13 seconds left. Wade then hit two free throws to make it 96-92 and then Rondo hit his 3 of 4 free throws to get the Bulls to 98. Then again Richardson 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Miami 95 points for the game.
Four of the five Bulls starters scored in double figures led by Jimmy Butler who tied for the game high scorer with 20 points. Robin Lopez and Rajon Rondo had 16 points each. Rondo also had a team high 12 rebounds and handed out 6 assists which tied for the game high. Dwayne Wade had 13 points while Doug McDermott (13 points) and Nikola Mirotic (10 points) came off the Bulls bench to score in double figures. The Bulls starters played big minutes in this second of a back to back games scheduling. Butler and Lopez played 38 minutes each while Rondo played 37 minutes and Wade played 32.
The Heat was led by Hasan Whiteside who tied Butler with 20 points, but also grabbed a game high 20 rebounds. Dion Waiters had 16 points while Justise Winslow added 15 points. Waiters and Winslow tied Rondo for the game lead in assists as they both handed out 6 of them. Josh Richardson came off the Miami bench to score 16 points and Tyler Johnson also came off the Miami bench to score 14 points.
The 5-4 Bulls head home for a Saturday night match up with the 2-5 Washington Wizards. Miami (2-5) get to stay at home as they’ll host the Utah Jazz in a Saturday night match up.