|Chicago Bulls - Miami Heat|
|First Meeting||December 10, 1988|
|Last Meeting||December 5, 2013|
|Next Meeting||February 23, 2014|
|Location||American Airlines Arena|
|Rivalry status||125 meetings|
|Current Streak||W19 (CHI)|
|Longest CHI Streak||W19|
|Longest MIA Streak||W6|
|All-Time Series||70-55 (CHI)|
|Regular Season Series||52-42 (CHI)|
|Playoff Series||18-13 (CHI)|
|1992 Eastern Conference First Round||Bulls won, 3–0|
|1996 Eastern Conference First Round||Bulls won, 3–0|
|1997 Eastern Conference Finals||Bulls won, 4–1|
|2006 Eastern Conference First Round||Heat won, 4–2|
|2007 Eastern Conference First Round||Bulls won, 4–0|
|2011 Eastern Conference Finals||Heat won, 4-1|
|2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals||Heat won, 4-1|
The Bulls–Heat rivalry began once the Heat became contenders during the 1990s, a decade dominated by the Bulls. They were eliminated 3 times by Chicago, who went on to win the title each time.
The rivalry has come back in the post-Michael Jordan era due to the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls becoming favorites in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls led by Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, and Joakim Noah have battled the Heat starring the Big 3: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh for dominance. These contests have been fierce and hard fought featuring many fouls and ejections.
- 1 The Beginning: 1992-1997
- 2 Dormancy: 1998-2009
- 3 The Revival: 2010-Present
- 4 Notable Games
- 5 Head to head
- 6 References
The Beginning: 1992-1997
The first meeting occurred in the first round of the 1992 NBA Playoffs. The Bulls, led by Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and coached by Phil Jackson, were the defending champs and had accumulated a 67-15 record, the Central Division title, and the top seed in the East. The Heat, with Glen Rice, Steve Smith, and Rony Seikaly, reached the NBA Playoffs for the 1st time in franchise history with a 42-40 record, which made them the 8th seed. The Bulls swept Miami in 3 en route to their 2nd straight NBA title.
The second time the teams met, in the 1996 NBA Playoffs, the Bulls, now with Jordan, Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoč, and Steve Kerr, had compiled the best NBA regular season record of 72-10 and were hungry to regain the NBA title after a 2-year hiatus. The Heat, now coached by Pat Riley with Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Chris Gatling, and Walt Williams, managed to clinch the 8th seed with a 42-40 record. However, the Bulls were too much as they swept Miami 3-0 for the second straight time and eventually capped a historic season with their 4th NBA title.
The Heat took the following season to hone their plan of attack on Chicago. Utilizing the aggressive tactics he used while coaching New York, Riley conditioned a tough Miami team designed to break the Bulls. After dropping the first 2 regular season match-ups to Chicago, Riley's plan took effect. The Heat crushed Chicago in the last 2 regular season match-ups. The Heat returned to the playoffs in high fashion with their first Atlantic Division title, revamped with new additions Dan Majerle, P.J. Brown, Jamal Mashburn, and Voshon Lenard and a franchise-best 61-21 record and the 2nd seed behind the 69-13 Bulls. However, when they met in the Eastern Conference Finals, Miami's plan went flat as they fell behind 3-0 to the Bulls before winning their first playoff game in the matchup in Game 4 87-80, heeding Mourning's guarantee of a victory. One of the incidents of the series was when Pippen got elbowed in the head by Mourning. Jordan took it personally and gave Chicago the spark they needed to blow Miami out in Game 5 100-87. Mourning did not make his first field goal of the game until the next-to-last possession. The Bulls went on to defend their title against the Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals.
The rivalry went into a dormant phase due to intervention by the Knicks (who eliminated the Heat in the first round of the 1998 NBA Playoffs) and the dismantling of the Bulls after the 1998 Championship. The next time the two met was in the first round of the 2006 NBA Playoffs. The Heat, a year removed from a trip to the 2005 Eastern Conference Finals, were led by Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade, and Pat Riley, who returned to coaching earlier in the season after a short hiatus. The Bulls, had returned to the postseason for the second consecutive year, consisted of Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Andres Nocioni, Chris Duhon, and Luol Deng, forming a team that relied on accurate perimeter offense and strong overall team defense. The Southeast Division-leading Heat were the second seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Bulls were the seventh seed. The Heat were expected to put the Bulls away early, but the young Bulls won Games 3 and 4 at home after the Heat won the first two in Miami. Notable in this series was a flagrant foul committed by James Posey on Hinrich during a fast break. Posey was immediately ejected. After a little private squabble among Heat players, they regrouped and won the next two games and, eventually, their first NBA Championship.
At the start of the 2006-07 season, the Heat hosted the Bulls in the Heat's season opener. The Bulls, now retooled with new players (the most notable being former Piston Ben Wallace), blew out Miami, and gave the Heat the worst season-opening loss of a defending NBA Champion.
Throughout the season, the incident involving Posey did not remain an isolated. In games between the Heat and Bulls, Posey was involved in a few hard fouls and rough plays against various Bulls' players. On opening night, he smashed Tyrus Thomas in the face, breaking Thomas' nose. In a December game, he horse-collar tackled Luol Deng as he was going for a layup. Deng fell hard on his wrist which he had had surgery on the previous year, but fortunately escaped un-injured. Bulls' fans remembered this incident, and have often expressed their dislike for Posey.
The teams met in the first round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs. The Bulls finished the season on a strong note, but lost their last regular season game against the Nets which, along with a Cavs win over the Bucks, cost the Bulls the second seed, dropping them all the way to fifth. The defending Champion Heat, ravaged with injuries to key players throughout the season, caught up in the standings and clinched the Southeast Division Title and the fourth seed.
The Bulls had been eliminated in the first round for two consecutive years. They won the first two games in Chicago, thanks to a stellar performance by Deng. In Game 2, P.J. Brown bumped Posey. Referee Steve Javie called Brown for a flagrant because, according to Javie, Posey was bumped while in the air. The league rescinded it after viewing the film. Near the end of the game, Chicago fans chanted, "Posey sucks!". The series shifted to Miami for Games 3 and 4, where the Heat managed to lead both games at halftime. The Bulls had big third quarters in both games, which led to two more victories and a series sweep. The Heat became the first defending NBA Champions to get swept in the first round since the Syracuse Nationals swept the Philadelphia Warriors in the first round of the 1957 NBA Playoffs.
The Revival: 2010-Present
In the 2008 NBA Draft, the league-worst Heat were the favorite for the first pick, but with a 1.7% chance, the Bulls won the lottery and selected Derrick Rose, while Miami selected Michael Beasley with the 2nd pick. During the blockbuster 2010 free agency class, both teams struck gold, with the Bulls receiving Carlos Boozer from the Utah Jazz and Heat forming the "Big 3" with Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (who spurned a chance to join his hometown Bulls).
2010-2011 season: Hyped as contenders in the east, the Bulls and the Heat faced one another in three regular season games, all of which went down to the last moments and all of which ended in Chicago victories. With a league-best 62-win record, the Coach Of The Year in Tom Thibodeau and the league MVP in Derrick Rose, the Bulls ranked first in the Eastern Conference, with the Heat taking the second seed. As expected, they played against each other in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. The Bulls, thanks to a hot-shooting Derrick Rose, won Game 1 handily at home. LeBron James responded by guarding Rose in Game 2. Without a secondary scorer, and thanks to a resurgent James and a return-to-form performance by Udonis Haslem, the Bulls lost Game 2. The Heat won both Games 3 and 4 in Miami, with Game 4 being decided in OT, and again thanks to a shared defensive effort in containing Rose. Back in Chicago for Game 5, the Bulls held their ground for much of the game, until a late fourth-quarter Miami run and a key block on Rose's potential game-tying three cost Chicago the series. The final 4 losses of the series marked the first time all season that the Bulls lost four straight games. The Heat made the NBA Finals for only the second time in the team's history, thereby denying Rose, the MVP, a chance to become the first player since Tim Duncan to win the MVP and a title in the same season. Nevertheless, the Heat would lose to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals.
2011-2012 season: Fresh off their previous duel, the two teams met four times in the lockout-shortened regular season, with both teams winning their home games. The first game was played in Miami, where the Bulls were without Luol Deng and C.J. Watson. Miami won 97–93 thanks to 2 missed free throws from Rose that could have won the game. The second and third games were in Chicago, who were without Rose and Rip Hamilton respectively. Nevertheless, the Bulls pulled off a surprising win despite LeBron and Wade scoring a combined 71 points. Chicago was led by John Lucas III, who scored 24 points off the bench. In the third game, Miami was without Udonis Haslem, due to illness. Rose was suffering from a foot injury and only went 1-of-13. It was very close down the stretch, as LeBron hit a 3 to put Miami up 83–81 with 49.1 seconds left. With a chance to seal it, he could only hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it 84–81. Watson responded by hitting a 3 of his own with 2.2 seconds left to tie it and force overtime. In OT, Chicago outscored Miami 12-2 and won 96–86. In both games, the Bulls' bench gave significant contributions, outscoring the starters in the second game, and the Heat bench 47–7 in the third. The last game was in Miami, which the Heat won 83–72. The Bulls were without Rose again, and the Heat were without Ronny Turiaf and Chris Bosh. The game included a flagrant two by James Jones against Joakim Noah, a flagrant one by Wade on Hamilton followed by a double technical, and a hard but legal screen by LeBron on John Lucas, followed by a double technical. With Rose suffering a torn ACL in the first round, the Bulls were ousted in six games by the Philadelphia 76ers, denying a chance for a rematch between Miami and Chicago. The Heat went on to win the NBA title that year. In the offseason, the Bulls cut ties with Watson, Lucas, Ronnie Brewer, Ömer Aşık and Kyle Korver, dismantling their so-called Bench Mob in favor of Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson, Marco Bellinelli and Nazr Mohammed.
2012-2013 season: With Miami as the defending NBA champions, the Heat were favored to return to the Finals after garnering a league-best and franchise-best 66-16 record. Despite various layers battling injures, the Bulls remained competitive, winning 45 games and garnering the 5th seed. During the season series, Bulls took the first game 96-89 at Miami, but the Heat responded by winning 86-67 in Chicago. The third game took place in Chicago on March 27th, when the Heat were riding on a 27-game win streak. A hard fought game included Hinrich colliding with James during a drive, as well as Taj Gibson raking James' neck while attempting to block a shot; James, displeased, stated that "These are not basketball plays" at the end of the game. Despite James' 32 points, Deng and Boozer were able to outlast the Heat 101-97, ending the second longest streak in the history of the NBA. The Heat once again avenged their loss by winning the fourth game 105-93 at Miami, splitting the season series at 2-2. A postseason rematch occurred shortly thereafter, with the Heat sweeping the Milwaukee Bucks and the Bulls outlasting the Brooklyn Nets before meeting in the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Coming off a seven-game battle with the Brooklyn Nets, Luol Deng was out with an illness and Kirk Hinrich sat with a sore calf. Nevertheless, under the 27-point performance of Nate Robinson, the Bulls surprised the Heat in Miami 93–86. Jimmy Butler added 21 points, his defense proving instrumental in mitigating LeBron James. The Heat, for the third time this season, avenged their loss to the Bulls by posting a blowout 115–78 Game 2 win, where Miami attained their biggest playoff win and dealt the Bulls their biggest playoff defeat in their respective franchise history. Despite the blowout score, the teams continued their tough play; 9 technical fouls and 2 ejections, on Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, were administered. In the second quarter of Game 3, Nazr Mohammed shoved James to the ground, resulting in Mohammed getting ejected. The game entered the 4th quarter 70-70, but ended up in a Miami victory, 104-94. In Game 4, the Heat held the Bulls to 65 points, a Bulls playoff-low, winning 88-65. The Bulls only scored 9 points in the 3rd quarter. Game 5 characteristically went down to the wire, as the Heat finished off the Bulls by winning 94-91. The Heat rallied late in the 4th while Butler and Robinson both missed 3 pointers as time expired. The Heat went on to win the NBA championship again that year.
2013-2014: The Bulls and Heat meet in the first game of the NBA season, where the Miami Heat will also receive their 2013 championship rings. Derrick Rose is also primed to make his regular season return from injury in this game.
February 23, 1996 in Miami
During the 1995-96 NBA season, one in which the eventual Champion Bulls finished with a record-breaking 72-10 record, the Heat defeated the Bulls 113-104, despite having only 8 players on its roster after completing three trades the previous day. Having sent away five players at the trade deadline including starters Kevin Willis, Bimbo Coles, and Billy Owens, the Heat struggled to meet the league requirement of 8 roster players until one of its newly acquired players, guard Tony Smith, made it on time to play in the game. Heat Coach Pat Riley said that had Smith, who started in the game and scored 16 points, not made it on time, they would have to "sign somebody off of the street."  Rex Chapman was high-scorer with 39 points while hitting 9 of 10 3-pointers. The game is considered by many to be the greatest upset in Heat history.
April 10, 1999 in Chicago
Chicago scored an all-time NBA record low (in the shot clock era) 49 points in a loss to the Heat. Kornel David led Chicago with 13 points. Later in the season Chicago beat Miami 101-86.
December 27, 2006 in Chicago
"Hinrich pulled his hand. Hinrich grabbed his hand, which he does all of the time...That's what he does anytime Dwyane comes off screens. They always either grab his shirt or hand. It's a little bit of a tactic down below the body. The officials can't see it. So he had Dwyane's hand and tried to pull it out of there."
In his third incident with the Bulls, Posey was ejected after clotheslining Deng in midair. He was suspended for one game. After hitting the floor, Deng was grabbing his right wrist, which had surgery a year before. Ben Gordon did not appreciate Riley's comments after the game, especially since Posey was ejected for taking down Deng from behind in the fourth quarter.
"I heard him saying something about Kirk. Kirk didn't do anything dirty...he was just playing aggressive defense. Posey's was way more blatant. I don't appreciate him taking shots at our guys."
March 27, 2013 in Chicago
The Bulls ended the Heat's record-setting 27 game win streak on March 27, 2013, with a 101-97 victory at the United Center in Chicago. Despite playing without superstar Derrick Rose, all-star Joakim Noah, Richard "Rip" Hamilton, and Marco Belinelli, the Bulls managed to end the second longest win streak in North American sports history The game was quite testy , with Kirk Hinrich tackling, the much larger, Lebron James early in the first quarter to prevent an easy fastbreak, and LeBron James picking up a flagrant foul in the fourth quarter after an apparent flagrant foul committed by Taj Gibson was downgraded to a common foul. LeBron after the game described Hinrich's and Gibson's play as "Those are not defensive ... those are not basketball plays."
Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals: May 6, 2013 in Miami
The Bulls pulled a stunning upset over the defending champion Miami Heat in the first game of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The Heat were rested for 7 days following their sweep over the Milwaukee Bucks while the Bulls had just gotten out of a tough seven game series against the Brooklyn Nets. The Bulls were missing All-Stars Derrick Rose and Luol Deng and starting guard Kirk Hinrich. Joakim Noah was suffering plantar fasciitis as well. The Bulls built an early lead of 10-4 but Miami began to pick up the pace. Nate Robinson and Lebron James collided diving for a loose ball causing Robinson to smash his skull onto the court with a bloody lip. James ended the first half with only 2 points, though he did score 22 points in the second half.
Head to head
The results in parentheses concern the playoff games.
|Season||at Chicago Bulls
|at Miami Heat
|1989–90||119-105, 111-103||107-114, 95-107||4–0|
|1990–91||112–103, 108–87||106–117, 101–111||4–0|
|1992–93||86-82, 119-92||100-105, 97-95||3–1|
|1993–94||71-95, 101-109||99-104, 90-96||2–2|
|1994–95||133-88, 111-85||91-83, 93-98||3–1|
(84-77, 75-68, 100-87)
|1999-00||87-105, 83-76||85-92, 105-80||2-2|
|2000-01||89-82, 90-97||90-81, 109-81||1-3|
|2001-02||78-72, 87-92||92-79, 102-80||1-3|
|2003-04||83-90, 83-97||102-95, 105-96||0-4|
|2004-05||81-105, 105-101||108-97, 104-86||1-3|
(109-90, 93-87, 96-113)
(111-106, 115-108, 92-78)
|2008-09||93-95, 106-87||90-77, 130-127||1-3|
|2009-10||95-91, 74-103||95-87, 108-95||1-3|
(103-82, 75-85, 80-83)
|2011-12||106-102, 96-86||97-93, 83-72||2-2|
(86-93, 115-78, 94-91)
|Chicago Bulls||Miami Heat|
|At Chicago Stadium/United Center||43||20|
|At Miami Arena/American Airlines Arena||25||32|
|Regular season wins||51||41|
|At Chicago Stadium/United Center||31||15|
|At Miami Arena/American Airlines Arena||20||26|
|At Chicago Stadium/United Center||12||5|
|At Miami Arena/American Airlines Arena||6||8|
- "Hardaway heads for the Heat in trade". Los Angeles Times. February 23, 1996. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
- "HEAT 20th Anniversary Moment: 8 is Enough". Miami Heat channel. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
- "Posey suspended one game for flagrant foul". espn.com. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
- . NESN http://nesn.com/2013/03/kirk-hinrich-tackles-lebron-james-on-fast-break-as-bulls-rough-up-heat-video/. Missing or empty
- "Bulls at Heat - May 6, 2013". ESPN.
- . ESPN http://www.nba.com/games/20130506/CHIMIA/gameinfo.html. Missing or empty