Guard Derrick Rose is sidelined following knee surgery, but the Bulls now own five wins over the Heat without Rose during the past three seasons. Forward Carlos Boozer scored 27 points Thursday as Chicago rolled to a 107-87 victory over Miami at the United Center.
The Bulls led by as many as 25 points. Miami (14-5) cut the margin to 93-81 midway through the fourth quarter. Then with James waiting to check in, Deng drained a 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired to put Chicago comfortably ahead 98-81 with 3:56 remaining.
"I didn't want to believe it," James said. "When I saw them working on him on the sideline, on the bench, he didn't look well. I was hoping for the best for him, and obviously, the news wasn't the best. No doubt (Rose can come back). He's very young and very determined."
NOTES: Miami G Dwyane Wade missed back-to-back games. On Tuesday against the Detroit Pistons, the reason given was general soreness. In Chicago on Thursday, it was illness. "Really feeling under the weather. It hit him hard this morning," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ... Spoelstra said he expects F Chris Andersen to join the team in Minnesota on Friday after missing the Chicago game due to personal reasons. ... Injured Bulls G Derrick Rose was declared out for the season after surgery to repair cartilage damage in his right knee. However, Rose met the media Thursday for the first time since the surgery and didn't rule out a return later this season. "If I'm healthy and my meniscus is fully healed, of course I'll be out there playing," he said. ... Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said of Rose's potential return: "We can't worry about whether he may come back or not. Right now, it's been determined that he's out for the season, so that's the way we're going to approach it. If something changes later on, then we'll adjust then."