MIAMI, USA January 30 – The Miami Heat won the battle of the Eastern Conference giants beating the Chicago Bulls 97-93 behind a sparkling 35-point performance from LeBron James.
It marked the first game between the teams since the Heat eliminated the Bulls in five games during the semi-finals of last year’s playoffs.
“In many regards it was a typical Miami-Chicago basketball game,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. “To get the win showed some toughness and resiliency.”
Former two-time league Most Valuable Player James also had 11 rebounds and five assists for the Heat who have won four in a row and seven of their last eight games overall.
Reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose had 34 points, six rebounds and six assists for Chicago who have a league best 17 wins to go with just five losses.
Bosh helped clinch the victory by sinking two last free throws for Miami.
The Bulls were behind by eight points with just over two minutes left in the fourth but cut the margin to one point when Rose drained a three pointer with 49 seconds to play.
Rose had a chance to give Chicago the lead late but missed two free throws and a jump shot as the Heat held for the victory.
“Both teams have competitive players,” Spoelstra said. “And you get into a game like this in the trenches, at the line of scrimmage. You’ll get some skirmishes. And they were clean skirmishes. Both teams try to do it with force.”
Wade was playing in his second game for the Heat after missing six with a sprained right ankle.
He shot four of 16 from the field and made seven of 10 free throws. He also came up with seven assists.