One of the biggest ovations during the Bulls' 90-83 loss to Miami on Monday night came when the United Center scoreboard showed Michael Jordan watching from a suite, which proves that history still counts more than hype.
These Bulls were hyped to be playoff contenders, but they can't even string together a meager three-game winning streak.
They wasted a golden opportunity against the Heat, blowing a 17-point lead with a disastrous second half that ruined the return of Eddy Curry from injury.
For whatever this is worth, the Bulls are 0-3 in games Jordan has attended this season. In the immediate aftermath of such a disappointing loss before 20,472, such a detail didn't matter.
Only this did: Trailing 84-83 with 39.2 seconds to go, the Bulls couldn't get a shot off an inbounds play following a timeout. So they called another. That produced a forced Jamal Crawford attempt, an air ball, to beat the shot clock.
After two Brian Grant free throws with 18.3 seconds left, Kirk Hinrich lost the ball out of bounds while driving to the basket on another play designed during a timeout.
For those still paying attention, that's three timeouts and zero shots attempted.
"We're not good at that, and that's my responsibility," coach Scott Skiles said. "We didn't execute correctly there, but I can't put that one on the players."
Skiles can, however, put lack of defensive awareness and effort on the playersand did.
"They outplayed us from beginning to end," Skiles said. "We had the lead basically because they missed layups. They broke us down on penetration. Our pick-and-roll defense was as poor as it's been. Overall, we had a lack of effort."
Miami, led by Lamar Odom's 25 points and 13 rebounds, sandwiched a 13-0 run around halftime.Grant, who had 18 points and 12 rebounds, gave Miami its first lead when he drained a baseline jumper with 57.1 seconds left in the third quarter. The Bulls had little interior presence despite a smallish Heat lineup.
Odom's three-pointer with 7:40 left gave the Heat the lead for good at 72-69.
One game after setting his career high in points, Jamal Crawford had a career-high 12 assists. But he shot just 3-for-16 as the Bulls checked in at 39.5 percent.
Kirk Hinrich led the Bulls with 16 points. Jerome Williams added 14 points and 16 rebounds.
Curry had 13 points in 14 minutes after missing the previous seven games with a bone bruise in his left knee. But he didn't play the final 7:38.
"I was dead tired," Curry said.
Former Richards High and Marquette star Dwyane Wade shook off a sore right wrist to play 36 minutes and contribute 10 points and eight assists for the Heat. Wade, who needed 30 tickets to satisfy friends and family, received a loud ovation during introductions.
By game's end, the crowd noise had turned to boos, serenading another wasted effort.
Heat 90, Bulls 83