Boozer leads Bulls past Heat 96-89
MIAMI (AP) Even when seated, the Chicago Bulls outrebounded the Miami Heat.
Following one missed shot, the ball rolled between forward Carlos Boozer's legs as he fell on his backside, yet he still managed to scoop it up and feed a teammate for two more second-chance points for Chicago.
Dominating on the glass and the hardwood, the Bulls became only the third visiting team to win in Miami this season, beating the Heat 96-89 Friday night.
Chicago outrebounded Miami 48-28. The Bulls had 19 offensive rebounds to four for the Heat.
"Everybody in both locker rooms understands what the overwhelming key to the game was," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. "They were throwing it up there and playing volleyball against us."
The Eastern Conference-leading Heat fell to 15-3 at home. Their other home defeats came against the Knicks and Warriors.
"It always feels good to beat the Heat," said center Joakim Noah, who had 12 rebounds. "And we get a night out in the city, so we're hyped right now. We haven't been playing great basketball and this is probably our biggest win of the year against the defending champs. It feels good."
The first meeting between the teams this season was a bruiser, and the Bulls repeatedly outfought and outfoxed Miami on the boards.
The Heat, who are last in the NBA in rebounds, had won four games this season when outrebounded by 15 or more. But this time the disparity beat them.
"It's just the will of going to do it," LeBron James said. "It's a reoccurrence. You give a team like this extra possessions, they're going to capitalize."
James scored 30 points, extending his streaks of scoring at least 20 points to 31 consecutive games this season, and 52 games in a row overall when including last year's playoff run. He has scored at least 25 in eight consecutive games.
But he had just six rebounds, which led the Heat. Boozer had 12 rebounds for Chicago, and Taj Gibson added nine in 17 minutes.
The Bulls' final offensive rebound helped seal the win. Jimmy Butler grabbed it and fed Boozer for a layup with 46 seconds left to put them up 93-86.
Chicago had 20 second-chance points to seven for Miami.
"It's killing us, plain and simple," said Heat center Chris Bosh, who had one offensive rebound in 38 minutes. "Is it scheme? Is it mental? We'd better figure it out."
Boozer scored 27 points after totaling a season-high 31 Wednesday at Orlando. Noah, back after missing one game with flu-like symptoms, had 13 points.
They set the tone with their physical play.
"I don't know if that small ball is going to work against us," Noah said. "Not with guys like Carlos Boozer in the game."
While the Heat were often on their heels, they kept coming back. A jarring foul by Kirk Hinrich near the sideline staggered James and he collapsed on the Bulls bench, then was helped to his feet by coach Tom Thibodeau.
Seconds later, James sank a 3.
Noah drew a flagrant foul when he tackled James around the neck with one arm to stop a drive early in the fourth quarter. The violation led to a four-point possession for the Heat, with James sinking four consecutive free throws.
The next time Miami had the ball, James drove for a dunk that cut Chicago's lead to 75-72. But the Heat got no closer.
"We understand how important rebounding is," Thibodeau said, "and it showed tonight."
Chicago won with more than mere muscle. The Bulls' 5-foot-9 Nate Robinson made a leaping interception of a James pass, then smartly bounced the ball off Miami's Shane Battier to avoid traveling. The ball dribbled out of bounds, allowing Chicago to keep possession.
Robinson's 3-pointer with 6 1/2 minutes left gave the Bulls their biggest lead, 83-73.
The Bulls pounded the boards from the start and scored the final 10 points of the first quarter for a 26-22 lead. Butler's buzzer-beater to end the first half put them up 49-48.
Marco Belinelli sank a 3-pointer to put Chicago up 75-66 after three quarters.
The Heat had won their past two games, both in overtime, but the Bulls wouldn't let them get to OT.
NOTES: Regarding All-Star voting, James said with a chuckle: "It looks like I'm going to be a starter. Surprising." ... The Bulls are 9-8 home and 9-5 on the road. ... Chicago improved to 8-1 on the road against the Eastern Conference.
Updated January 5, 2013
In the latest edition of the "It Is What It Is" podcast, Chris Price and CSNNE's Mike Giardi take a look at the Patriots offseason on both sides of the ball, try and get a handle on which new guys will make an impact first, and whether or not the Patriots have altered their style when it comes to drafting and developing wide receivers.
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Cleveland Indians hottest team in baseball, yet remain last in attendance May 19, 2013 By AJ Kaufman 6 Comments There’s a scene in Major League where Bob Uecker, portraying the radio voice of the Indians, bemoans, “In case you haven’t noticed, and judging by the attendance you haven’t, the Indians have managed to win a few here and there, and are threatening to climb out of the cellar.” Well, that was nearly 25 years ago and fictional, but today’s reality is that Cleveland has won 17 of its last 21, and currently tops the AL Central with a mark of 25-17. No one in the majors is better than the Indians in the past month (20-7). That’s great news. The bad news, however, is the Tribe somehow remain in the MLB cellar when it comes to attendance. How can this be? The fact that I wrote on this same topic almost to the day last year – when only Tampa Bay drew fewer fans than Cleveland - may be even more troubling. Though roughly 34,000 watched a walk-off win Friday night against Seattle, perfect weather and free caps weren’t enough to draw more than 36,000 Saturday and Sunday combined. What did the Indians do in those tilts? They nabbed another walk-off win on Saturday, then the Indians crushed the great Felix Hernandez Sunday behind Justin Masterson, arguably the AL’s best pitcher right now. Fun fact: The Indians have already faced eight Cy Young Award winners in 2013: Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Jake Peavy, David Price, Justin Verlander and Hernandez. They have won seven out those eight matchups. Simply astounding. This offseason, the much-maligned Indians front office finally made a legitimate attempt to improve the team through free agency. I’m not talking an Ubaldo Jimenez-like trade, but rather smart acquisitions that brought veterans Mike Aviles, Michael Bourn, Jason Giambi, Scott Kazmir, Brett Myers, Mark Reynolds, Drew Stubbs and Nick Swisher to Cleveland. In addition to being a fantastic place to watch a game due to great egress and ingress, with extremely affordable tickets, the best promo lineup anywhere, Jacobs Field boasts overall, cooler, less muggy summer weather than most Midwestern locales. The team also lowered beer and hot dog prices to $4 and $3 respectively. What other professional stadium in any sport offers that? I have visited 28 of the 30 current Major League Baseball stadia, and few top The Jake when all angles are considered. I say that as a baseball fan, not an Indians fan. As for the putative “economic” angle, these are the same people who spend insane amounts of money to watch terrible football every fall and show up in decent numbers for putrid basketball in the winter. Irrespective of season length, those sports charge up to 10 times the price for a ticket, and the atmosphere isn’t half as fan-friendly as baseball. I understand fans’ lack of willingness to get on board to some degree. A decent recap of Cleveland’s decade of “rebuilding” can be read here and the team suffered a horrific collapse last August. However, in addition to all the benefits of attending games at Jacobs (now Progressive) Field, fans should also realize the team has potential and often exceeds preseason aspirations at any point without warning. Cleveland hosts the rival Detroit Tigers — heavy favorites to repeat as AL Central champs — Tuesday and Wednesday nights before hitting the road. The temperature should be pleasant at first pitch each evening so you’d expect The Jake to be full to watch the best hitter on the planet right now — but don’t count on it.
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