Boozer leaves Heat reeling as Bulls dominate

Sat Jan 5, 2013 12:41am EST
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By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - The Miami Heat's rebounding troubles cost them dearly as Carlos Boozer scored 27 points and pulled down 12 boards to spark the Chicago Bulls to a 96-89 win over the NBA champions in South Florida on Friday.

Although LeBron James scored 30 points, the Heat fell behind in the first quarter and were never able to recover as Chicago improved to 18-13 in the Eastern Conference.

Miami still lead the East with a 22-9 record but have stuttered recently, having lost three of their last four games.

James went into the game with doubts over a knee injury but still played more than 41 minutes and maintained his record of scoring at least 20 points in each game this season.

Four times previously in this campaign, Miami have been out-rebounded by 15 or more but on each occasion found a way to win.

However, they were unable to repeat the feat against the burly Boozer and a determined Bulls, who demolished the Heat 19-4 in offensive rebounds.

"They pounded us on those second chance points. They were just throwing it up there and playing volleyball against us," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters.

"Everybody understands in both locker room what the overwhelming key to the game was and we've got to get better," he added.   Continued...

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade (L) drives against Chicago Bulls' Jimmy Butler in the first half of their NBA basketball game in Miami, Florida January 4, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity