When news broke that star Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose would not go against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night because of an injured groin, anticipation for Bulls-Heat fell from its customary 13 out of 10 rating to somewhere substantially more subdued. Without Rose and starting shooting guard Richard Hamilton, and with Luol Deng and C.J. Watson returning to action but still nursing their own injuries, the matchup at the United Center had the makings of a blowout: a Heat win would tie Chicago in the loss column atop the Eastern Conference, and the talent deficiency between the Rose-less Bulls and Miami simply looked too vast to ignore.
And then the Bulls came out and hit 10 three-pointers, out-rebounded Miami 50-34, and hit enough clutch free throws to come away with a totally inconceivable 106-102 victory. I would never believe it actually happened if we didn't have the .gifs to prove it. Ain't that right, John Lucas III?
[More .gifs, after the jump]
Chicago has already had one "John Lucas III Game" this season, but there was apparently room for one more. Lucas III, the same tiny-ass, third-string point guard LeBron James jumped over to dunk an alley-oop last time these two teams met, scored a game-high 24 points by hitting 9-of-12 shots from the field. When JLIII got the D. Rose treatment from the Heat late in the game and had James switch onto him defensively, Lucas III, against all odds, still found a way to score. This bucket over James was extra nice:
I noted on Twitter during the game that the Bulls dunk more often against the Heat than they do any other team. Here's a sweet one from center Joakim Noah over Miami's Joel Anthony in the second quarter:
Here's another dunk one from Taj Gibson:
What an incredible victory. Savor it, Chicago.