Boozer, Bulls shock defending-champion Heat

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Boozer, Bulls shock defending-champion Heat

MIAMI No Derrick Rose, no problem.

If the Heat (22-9) didnt learn last season that the Bulls (18-13) didnt fear them without their franchise player in the lineup, they certainly learned Friday night, as the Bulls trademark blend of defense and role players rising to the occasion not to mention Carlos Boozer having his best game against Miami, where he resides in the offseason, in a Bulls uniform helped them hold off the defending champions, 96-89, at American Airlines Arena.

A quick start by Boozer (27 points, 12 rebounds) and the Bulls quieted the raucous home crowd, as scrappy defense, timely plays and selfless offense combated the hosts firepower to take an early lead.

Reigning MVP LeBron James (30 points, six rebounds) came out of the gates aggressively, however, ensuring that things didnt get out of hand, though a timeout to halt the visitors momentum was utilized by Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.

Miami subsequently got its transition game going and with a 9-0 run, mainly propelled by All-Star Dwyane Wade (22 points), the tables were quickly turned, as the Heats up-tempo approach led to easy scoring opportunities.

The Bulls didnt wilt, however, and with Taj Gibson (nine rebounds) coming off the bench to give them a lift, they ended the opening period on a 10-0 run to hold a 26-22 advantage after a quarter of play, following a putback layup by Boozer, who continued to produce through the entire frame, just before the buzzer.

The hosts quickly regained control of the game in the second quarter, as Chris Bosh (14 points), complemented by the Heats deep bench while Ray Allen is headlining, reserve, second-year point guard Norris Cole made more of an impact went to work. Although Boozer was reinserted into the contest and immediately continued doing damage, Miami built a slim cushion.

But the Bulls gradually cut into the deficit as the period waned on, getting contributions from energetic reserves Nate Robinson (13 points) and Jimmy Butler (eight points, five rebounds) fearless scoring from the former, while the latters defensive versatility and athleticism matched up well with the Heats small-ball lineup; Butler sacrificed his offense to focus on guarding fellow Marquette product Wade, as All-Star Luol Deng against James and quietly chipped away at the hosts.

At the intermission, following a last-second shot by Butler, the Bulls led, 49-48, much to the dismay of the home crowd.

After the break, Boozer and Joakim Noah (13 points, 12 rebounds) who took a while to get going after missing Wednesdays win in Orlando with flu-like symptoms helped the Bulls maintain their edge, via their strong interior play. They got help from the veteran backcourt of Kirk Hinrich (10 points, eight assists) and Rip Hamilton, which provided the visitors, with a lift after a mostly dormant first half.

The Bulls acquired some breathing room as the third quarter went on and while James brought the house down after a fast break alley-oop from Wade with 3:29 left in the period, the Bulls soldiered on, even flirting with extending their lead to double digits. Behind the continued solid play of the inside tandem of Noah and Boozer, the visitors headed into the final stanza ahead, 75-66.

Early in the fourth quarter, what appeared to be a potential turning point in the game occurred when Noah, already seen as a villain in Miami and a host of other NBA cities aside from Chicago, collared James around the neck without malice and he helped him up and after an official review, was called for a flagrant foul with 10:16 remaining.

James scored nine straight Heat points to bring Miami to within three, but Robinson responded with a terrific individual sequence a tough floater on one end, then an amazing athletic display for a steal on defense, followed by drawing a foul and knocking down a pair of free throws to give the Bulls some separation.

Robinsons exploits continued, as he and Boozer hit the deck in pursuit of loose balls, followed by another solo run by the diminutive scorer he took a charge on Ray Allen on defense, then knocked down a triple prompting a Heat timeout, as the Bulls built a double-digit lead.

As the game headed into the stretch run, timely plays on the defensive end by the likes of Butler, as well as clutch foul shooting, allowed the Bulls to hold off their hosts, who simply couldnt buy a bucket late. And while an Allen three-pointer with 1:44 remaining made it a 91-85 game, in the visitors favor, followed by James drawing a clear-path foul on Hinrich though he split the pair of free throws and the Heat couldnt capitalize on the subsequent possession a Boozer layup after a Butler offensive rebound salted the game away in the final minute, promoting the Heat loyalists to head for the exits early.

Derrick Rose pens farewell to Chicago: 'It’s time for a new chapter'

Derrick Rose pens farewell to Chicago: 'It’s time for a new chapter'

Derrick Rose was officially introduced as a member of the New York Knicks on Friday afternoon.

After thanking the Bulls organization for trading him, Rose penned his farewell to the city of Chicago via TheCycle.com.

While looking forward to playing alongside Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis with the Knicks, Rose reflected on his time with the Bulls.

Chicago made me who I am. It’s tatted on my wrist. I was raised in my grandmother’s house on South Paulina Street in Englewood. Being drafted by the Bulls, becoming an All-Star and an MVP on the Bulls, helping the them make the playoffs — all of that was a dream come true. I’ll never forget it. I’ve carried Chicago with me everywhere I’ve gone, from around the country to all over the world. I always will.

I understand that this is a business and the Bulls have their plans, their own ideas with what direction they want to go with the team, but I’m gonna use this as motivation. I was with them for eight years and they let me go. There’s no hard feelings, no grudges. They’re trying to do what’s best for the team. I totally understand that. But I don’t think I would be wrong for using this as motivation.

Check out the full article here.

NBA Free Agency: Where will Joakim Noah end up playing in 2016?

NBA Free Agency: Where will Joakim Noah end up playing in 2016?

Despite appearing in just 29 games and registering the worst statistical season of his eight-year NBA career in 2015-16, Bulls center Joakim Noah will be in high free agent demand this summer.

According to Mitch Lawrence of the Sporting News, the Washington Wizards are prepared to offer Noah a maximum contract, which would start at $28 million and reach an estimated $120 million across four seasons.

Noah, who is expected to move on from the Bulls, is also being pursued by the New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks.

The Knicks interest in the two-time All-Star and 2014 Defensive Player of the Year is a no-brainer with Derrick Rose now in New York and Noah having spent his teenage years in the Big Apple, starring for Brooklyn's Poly Prep. 

Noah, the ninth overall pick of the Bulls in 2007, is coming off shoulder surgery that cut his season short last January.

The 31-year-old Noah has averaged 9.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 572 games across eight seasons with the Bulls.

NBA Free Agency: Brandon Jennings could be a fit with the Bulls and Fred Hoiberg

NBA Free Agency: Brandon Jennings could be a fit with the Bulls and Fred Hoiberg

With the 2016 NBA Draft in the rearview mirror, the Bulls front office will now focus on shoring up the rest of the roster when the league's July 1 free agency moratorium begins.

The Bulls could have around $25 million to spend, but will not reportedly be in the market for maximum contract free agents'  Kevin Durant, Al Horford and DeMar DeRozan.

CSN's Draft Central crew discussed a few names that could be a good fit for the Bulls, including Orlando Magic point guard Brandon Jennings.

See why Kendall Gill thinks Jennings could thrive in Chicago in the video above.