CHICAGO — Wednesday morning, hours before the Bulls applied the brakes to the Heat's run at history, Chicago Coach Tom Thibodeau was asked if he had mentioned Miami's 27-game winning streak.
"What streak?" Thibodeau said.
Indeed, on a night in which the only Derrick Rose appearance came via a bobblehead doll and Joakim Noah, Richard Hamilton and Marco Belinelli also sat with injuries, the Bulls made history disappear.
The second-longest winning streak in North American major professional sports league history is over thanks to a 101-97 victory that, out of nowhere, rekindled talk of a lengthy Bulls' postseason run.
Heat, meet grit.
"We didn't play perfect, but we fought hard the whole game," Kirk Hinrich said.
Luol Deng scored 28 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter and four three-pointers. Jimmy Butler provided big play after big play to spark the Bulls, finishing with 17 points and a career-high five assists. And Carlos Boozer added 21 points and 17 rebounds on a night the Bulls never backed down.
When LeBron James tried to smash through a Boozer screen with 3 minutes 52 seconds left, Boozer held his ground and James, who had been pounded all night on drives, drew a flagrant 1 foul.
James led the Heat with 32 points, but Thibodeau's defensive schemes turned him into a scorer more than his preferred role of facilitator.
"It would've been perfect if I was playing, but guess not," Rose said of his bobblehead night.
The Bulls came out intense and physical with everything clicking. They sank their first four shots and jumped to a 13-2 lead. The Bulls led 55-46 at halftime but momentum appeared to turn for good early in the third.
As the Bulls continued to struggle offensively, Shane Battier's three-pointer with 4:30 left capped a three-point possession and gave the Heat their first lead at 59-58.
But Butler woke the crowd with an acrobatic alley-oop from Deng over Bosh.
And just like that, the Heat's run ended to chants of "End the streak!" and "Beat the Heat!" from the faithful.
"I mean, everyone is aware," Thibodeau said of the streak. "But we're more concerned about them being the defending champion. Everyone is chasing them. You're chasing them regardless of whether there is a streak or no streak."
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The Lakers' 33-game winning streak is safe, for now, after Miami lost to Chicago on Wednesday. The NBA's longest winning streaks:
*--* Team G Season LAKERS 33 1971-72 Miami 27 2012-13 Houston 22 2007-08 Washington Capitols 20 1947-48*1948-49 Milwaukee 20 1970-71 LAKERS 19 1999-00 Boston 19 2008-09 *--*
*-Streak continued into second season.