Josh Richardson returned to the court for the Miami Heat. Dwyane Wade returned to his hometown of Chicago in a basketball uniform one final time. And the Heat benefited from both, coasting to a 117-103 victory over the hapless Bulls on Saturday at the United Center.
Following a one-game absence due to illness, Richardson looked anything but sick, pouring in 26 points to pace the Heat.
“I felt a little better today and just pushed through it,” Richardson said.
Meanwhile, Wade made his final hometown appearance a good one, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Heat handed the lowly Bulls their ninth consecutive loss.
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Wade connected on a pair of 3-pointers, including a third-quarter corner shot over the outstretched hands of Bulls 7-footer Lauri Markkanen that brought a smile to Wade’s face as he jogged back up the court.
Wade said Saturday’s final game in Chicago felt more “joyous” to him than did some of the previous stops on his farewell tour. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra took out Wade with just over a minute left — and Miami comfortably ahead — sparking a loud fan ovation at the United Center.
“That was cool,” Spoelstra said. “That was a special moment, just to see how the crowd in his hometown here reacted, and it’s well earned.”
Dion Waiters added a season-high 21 points for the Heat.
The win for the Heat followed back-to-back losses in Milwaukee and Detroit to open a four-game road trip and returned Miami to the .500 mark with a record of 22-22.
The Heat turned in a marginally better showing from the free throw line on Saturday than it did the night before in Detroit in which it shot an abysmal 8 for 19. The Heat made eight free throws in the first quarter alone against the Bulls and finished the game going 14 for 23 from the charity stripe.
Hassan Whiteside, who went 0 for 8 from the line in Detroit, missed both of his free throw attempts Saturday as his shooting woes continued.
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