For the first time in almost two months, the Miami Heat head into a game after losing the previous one.
Their 27-game winning streak was snapped in Chicago by the Bulls on Wednesday night, so the Heat will try to start a new one on Friday when they visit the New Orleans Hornets.
Miami fell 101-97 on Wednesday to end the second-longest winning streak in NBA history. They fell six games short of tying the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers record-setting mark, but the focus is still on a bigger goal than a winning streak.
"It was a heck of an experience for all of us to have together. We'll understand, probably more so later on in our careers, the significance of that," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "It was never about the streak. We have a bigger goal."
That goal is a second consecutive championship.
On Wednesday, the Bulls definitely rattled the Heat with physical defense.
LeBron James, who led all scorers with 32 points, complained after the game about two fouls committed against him that were not "basketball plays." He himself committed a Flagrant-1 foul against Carlos Boozer.
"It's been happening all year, and I've been able to keep my cool and try to tell Spo (Spoelstra), 'Let's not worry about it too much,'" said James. "But it is getting to me a little bit because every time I try to defend myself, I got to face the consequences of a flagrant for me or a technical foul."
Chris Bosh had 21 points and Dwyane Wade netted 18. No other Heat player scored in double figures and Miami was outrebounded 43-31 by the more physical Bulls team.
The Hornets had a three-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday. The Los Angeles Clippers came to the Big Easy and won, 105-91. It was the second setback in a homestand where the Hornets are 3-2 thus far with Miami and Cleveland still on deck.
"I thought for the most part we forgot a bit about how we won these past three games - defending, moving the ball and playing with a level of force that's necessary to have a chance to compete," said Hornets coach Monty Williams.
The Hornets trailed by two at the start of the fourth quarter, but L.A. outscored New Orleans 26-14 in the final frame.
Eric Gordon led the Hornets with 24 points, followed by 19 from rookie Anthony Davis. Robin Lopez had 13 and Brian Roberts added 10. Starting point guard Greivis Vasquez went scoreless in almost 28 minutes.
Miami has won three in a row in this series with New Orleans, but the Hornets have taken six of the last 10. The Hornets have also won six in a row and 13 of 15 at home against the Heat.