Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls battles for control of the ball with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat at the United Center on February 24 2011 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Bulls Make Statement, Defeat Heat With LeBron Playing

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Derrick Rose Leads Bulls Back From Halftime Deficit To 93-89 Win Over Heat

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Luol Deng buried the game-winning three-pointer with 16 seconds left to lift Chicago to a 93-89 decision over Miami at the United Center.

Derrick Rose did nothing to hurt the growing sentiment that he has a strong case for league MVP by scoring 26 points, including two big buckets in the final three minutes, dishing out six assists and grabbing five rebounds.

Rose drove on LeBron James from the foul line and when Dwyane Wade came over to provide help, the point guard found an open Deng in the left corner for the decisive make. Deng finished with 20 points, 10 boards and five assists for the Bulls, who bounced back from a surprise loss in Toronto on Wednesday to win for a fifth time in their last six games.

After James missed a straight-on three-pointer, Kyle Korver hit 1-of-2 at the line with 9.4 seconds to play to make it a four-point spread and seal the win, the eighth straigh on home hardwood for Chicago.

James scored 29 points, on 12-of-21 shooting, hauled in 10 caroms and handed out five assists while Wade provided a game-high 34 points to go along with eight rebounds for the Heat, who have split their first two post-All-Star Game contests.

Chris Bosh, the other member of the “Big Three”, had a miserable night, making 1-of-18 shots en route to scoring seven points. He did have nine rebounds for the Heat, who had claimed six of the previous nine meetings.


Chicago Bulls Vs. Miami Heat: LeBron James' First Visit With The Heat

The Bulls had better play better defense in tonight's nationally televised game against the Heat, than they did last night in Toronto against the Raptors, especially since LeBron James, who didn't play in the Jan. 15 game vs. the Bulls at the United Center, will be ready to go tonight.

As Carlos Boozer said, they can't simply trade baskets with a team like the Raptors -- or anyone -- and expect to win. Virtually the entire team, as well as coach Tom Thibodeau, blasted their own defensive effort.

After a rough start to the season, the Team That LeBron Created has been playing quite well; at 42-15 they are now in a virtual tie with the Celtics for the best record in the Eastern Conference. Nevertheless, even with last night's loss the Bulls trail by only three games and can make up one of those tonight.

Joakim Noah had 16 rebounds in his return from hand surgery but even he admitted that he wasn't quite "in sync" with the rest of the team, which is to be expected after a two-month layoff from playing. Fortunately, now that the Bulls have their three best players -- Boozer, Noah and Derrick Rose -- all playing together again, they should be able to get things rolling. Tonight would be a good time to start.

Tonight's game is a national TV date on TNT only -- no local TV -- at 7 p.m. CST. Hopefully, the network will spare us Dick Stockton's voice tonight; he really needs to retire.

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