CHICAGO (AP) — Luol Deng scored 25 points, Derrick Rose added 24 and the Chicago Bulls beat the Miami Heat 95-91 Saturday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
After blowing a fourth-quarter lead the previous night at Atlanta, the Bulls showed the poise that led to five straight wins before this skid and prevailed even though they were missing the injured Joakim Noah and suspended Tyrus Thomas.
They went ahead early in the fourth and held on, extending Miami's season-high losing streak to five.
Jermaine O'Neal tied season highs with 24 points and 16 rebounds, Dwyane Wade added 20 points, but the Heat fell for the seventh time in eight games.
They were within two — 85-83 — after a hook shot and layup by O'Neal with 2:34 left, but Rose responded with two free throws. Rafer Alston then got called for an offensive foul in a collision with Chicago's Kirk Hinrich as he tried to hand the ball off on the wing.
Rose drove the right side of the lane for a layup over O'Neal, perfectly protecting the ball, to make it 89-83 with 1:20 remaining. O'Neal then answered with two free throws and hit another after missing one with 43 seconds left to make it a three-point game, but Rose found Deng inside, resulting in two foul shots with 35 seconds left.
That made it a five-point game, and the Bulls could exhale after a rough day.
With Noah sidelined because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, the last thing Chicago needed was to lose another frontcourt player. Yet, they went without Thomas after suspending him for the game for conduct detrimental to the team.
Tied at 69 through three quarters, the Bulls got a three-point play from Brad Miller to start the fourth and baskets by Deng and Rose following a jumper by the Heat's Michael Beasley to take a 76-71 lead. Chicago never trailed after that.
NOTES: With the Bulls short-handed up front, veteran G Lindsey Hunter joked he was ready to help out on the inside. "I did some work at the four position to make sure just in case they needed me," he said. "My shot-blocking is not there, but everything else, I think I can handle." His post moves? "Drop step is pretty nice," he said. "I have a counter to that with my jump hook." ... This was just the third home game for the Bulls since Jan. 11. ... Heat G Mario Chalmers missed his fifth straight game with a partially torn ligament in his left thumb.