When the Bulls beat the Heat in Miami in January, Joakim Noah, pointing to a huge rebounding edge, boasted he didn't know "if that small ball is going to work against us."
It will if the Bulls play fall ball — and drop ball and dribble-off-the-foot ball and …
The Heat possess enough talent that they don't need opportunities gift-wrapped. But that's exactly what the Bulls did in a dismal 86-67 loss Thursday night that dropped their United Center mark to a pedestrian 15-13.
Besides season-low scoring, the Bulls committed a season-high 27 turnovers — 17 in the first half — that the Heat converted into 24 points. The Bulls entered averaging 14.7 turnovers per game.
"Nobody played well," coach Tom Thibodeau said.
LeBron James didn't miss a shot in the first half and finished with 26 points overall on 11-for-15 shooting to help run the Heat's winning streak to nine. James, who also had 12 rebounds and seven assists, had averaged 31 points on an astounding 67.2 percent shooting in the first eight victories.
"The game is real easy for him," Thibodeau said.
It's notable that Kirk Hinrich sat again after re-injuring his right elbow Tuesday night in New Orleans. Hinrich posted a season-high 10 assists with just two turnovers in that game.
Add in the fact Nate Robinson endured foul trouble, which meant heavy playing time for rookie Marquis Teague, and the Bulls' point guard woes were in full effect. And that's not even accounting for the pregame hubbub over critical comments Derrick Rose's brother, Reggie, made to ESPNChicago.com about lack of moves from the organization, which forced Derrick to release a statement.
"It was supposed to be an exciting night," Noah said. "To come out and play like that is disappointing."
Heat rout sloppy Bulls 86-67
Chicago Tribune | Feb 22