With the Miami Heat losing their first two games on their road trip, including a frustrating defeat last night in Detroit, and internal drama over Dion Waiters’ frustration over his role on the team, a 117-103 win against the Chicago Bulls was a much needed boost for the team Saturday night.
Though the Bulls have only won 10 games so far at the midpoint of the NBA season and own the second-worst record in the NBA, games against lesser opponents haven’t necessarily been smooth sailing for the Heat but Josh Richardson, Dwyane Wade and Waiters made sure that their team would climb back to .500.
Richardson led all players with 26 points on an efficient 10-15 shooting, including 4-8 from beyond the arc. It seemed like it had been a while since Richardson put his offensive skills on full display and he set the tone early with a nice looking 3-pointer two minutes into the game. Perhaps his most impressive play came at the end of the first quarter, when he was able to absorb contact to his chest as he darted into the paint but still managed to bank in a wild shot near the free throw line to beat the buzzer.
Dwyane Wade, in his final game in Chicago, filled up the box score with 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in 27 minutes off the bench. Bulls fans welcomed the Chicago native with thunderous applause when he entered the game and also during a video tribute.
Perhaps most encouraging for the Heat aside from the victory was Waiters bouncing back from a frustrating week with 21 points on 9-13 FG shooting in 22 minutes.
As good as the Heat looked at times in the first half with everyone contributing, they still couldn’t get much of a lead going against the pitiful Bulls and in fact were behind 57-55 at the half. Thankfully the third quarter was when the Heat started to step it up, outscoring the Bulls 28-19 with Richardson contributing 11 points, and then pouring in 34 points in the final quarter and putting together a late 14-2 run to seal the win.
Miami finishes their road trip in Boston against the Celtics on Monday night.