Butler, Dragic lead way as red-hot Heat beat Bulls
CHICAGO (AP) — Jimmy Butler scored 28 points against his former team, Goran Dragic added 20 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and the Miami Heat beat the Chicago Bulls 101-90 Friday night for their ninth win in 10 games.
Butler, who played his first six seasons in Chicago, added eight assists. Dragic finished one point shy of his season high thanks to a huge surge down the stretch, helping Miami come out on top on a night when both teams looked as if they were finishing back-to-backs.
The Heat improved to 20-18 after moving above .500 for the first time this season by beating Orlando on Thursday. The Bulls delivered another sluggish performance coming off a blowout loss a night earlier to Philadelphia with Sixers Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons unavailable due to contact tracing.
Zach LaVine led Chicago with 30 points. Lauri Markkanen scored 20 in his second game back after missing more than a month because of a sprained right shoulder. The Bulls lost for the fourth time in five games.
Dragic scored eight in a row for Miami in a span of just over a minute early in the fourth, hitting two foul shots and back-to-back 3s to turn a one-point lead into an 81-72 advantage with 8:50 remaining in the game.
He added 12 more in a stretch of about three minutes, capped by a 3 with 3:26 left to make it 96-82.
The teams struggled to find their rhythm. They were tied at 42 at halftime after a layup by Markkanen with 1.2 seconds remaining.
Butler scored 13 through the first two quarters, though the Heat made just 14 of 42 shots. LaVine scored 10 for Chicago. But the Bulls were also out of sync, shooting about 36% and committing nine turnovers.
Heat: Miami has won four straight in Chicago. ... The Heat were without C Bam Adebayo (knee) and G Avery Bradley (calf) as well as F Meyers Leonard, who was suspended Thursday by the NBA and fined $50,000 for using an anti-Semitic slur. Adebayo missed his third game in a row, while Bradley has not played since Feb. 3.
Bulls: Chicago had six turnovers in the first quarter after giving the ball away seven times in the opening period against Philadelphia on Thursday. ... Otto Porter Jr. was scoreless in 12 minutes in his second game back. He had been sidelined since Feb. 1 because of back spasms.
Heat: Visit Orlando on Sunday.
Bulls: Host Toronto on Sunday.
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