Bulls use strong defense to beat Heat

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Carlos Boozer tallied 27 points and 12 rebounds and the Chicago Bulls limited the Miami Heat to a season-low scoring total at home during a 96-89 triumph over the defending world champions at American Airlines Arena.

Joakim Noah, returning from a one-game absence due to illness, amassed 13 points and 12 rebounds to help the Bulls to a third victory in their last four games. Nate Robinson also finished with 13 points for Chicago, while Kirk Hinrich had 10 along with eight assists.

"You have to make hustle plays against them," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Overall, I thought everyone played well and we need that. In order to beat a team like this, you need contributions from everybody."

LeBron James, who battled through a bruised right knee, led all players with 30 points, but the Heat went just 5-of-20 from 3-point range. They were outrebounded by a 48-28 margin and were held under the 90-point mark for the first time at home and only the fourth overall this season. They are 0-4 in those outings.

"There's not a whole lot to say," Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We've got to get better. They just pounded us."

Miami, which had a five-game home winning streak snapped, also received 22 points from Dwyane Wade and 14 out of Chris Bosh.

The Heat owned a 45-38 lead following a successful Wade jumper with under four minutes to go in the first half, but Chicago ended the second quarter on an 11-3 run capped by Jimmy Butler's buzzer-beater that gave the Bulls a 49-48 edge at the break.

Chicago would stay in front the entire rest of the way, though it would have to fend off Miami comeback attempts on several occasions.

A 10-5 burst that began with 3-pointers from Richard Hamilton and Hinrich put the Bulls ahead 66-59 midway through the third quarter, and the differential would grow to nine by period's end after Marco Belinelli sank a jumper from beyond the arc for a 75-66 Chicago lead.

The Bulls shot an impressive 10-of-16 from the floor during the third quarter, while holding the Heat to an off-target 6-of-18 on field goal tries over that span.

Miami started out the final session strong, however, with James netting the first six points of the frame and throwing down a thunderous slam with 9:26 to go to cut the deficit to 75-72. Robinson scored on the other end, though, then made a pair from the line after a Heat turnover to extend Chicago's spread to seven.

The Bulls would go ahead by double-digits after a Robinson trey with 6:34 left made the score 83-73.

Miami got back to within five when James made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe for a 91-86 game with 1:30 remaining, but Boozer finished off a 12-of-17 shooting night with a layup with 46.3 seconds to play that essentially sealed the outcome.

Chicago closed out the first quarter with a 10-0 burst and grabbed a 26-22 edge on Boozer's layup at the buzzer, but the Heat outscored the Bulls by a 15-4 count over the initial five minutes of the second period.

Reserve guard Norris Cole netted six points during the sequence, which Shane Battier capped with a triple to put Miami ahead by a 37-30 score.

Game Notes

Since Boozer joined the team prior to the 2010-11 season, the Bulls are now 10-1 when he and Noah both record double-doubles in the same game ... Chicago improved to 8-1 against Eastern Conference foes on the road this season ... The Heat were held under 100 points for only the third time in 18 home tilts this season, and they're now 3-8 when scoring 100 or less for the campaign ... Wade extended his streak of games of over 20 points to seven ... The Bulls are 13-3 when holding the opposition under 90 points and 5-10 when they don't.