The Miami Heat were on fire on Tuesday, connecting on a club record 67.5 percent of their shots in a 129-111 NBA victory over the Chicago Bulls.
The Heat’s shooting percentage was not only the best in franchise history, it was the best in the NBA this season.
Miami centre Hassan Whiteside had a career-high 26 points with 14 rebounds and four blocks – all game highs. It was Whiteside’s sixth straight double-double, all of them off the bench.
Forward Joe Johnson, playing his first home game in Miami in his second contest since signing with the Heat at the weekend, scored 24 points.
Luol Deng, a former Bulls standout, had 20 points, Goran Dragic had a double-double of 17 points and 11 assists and Dwyane Wade added 18 points and seven assists for Miami, who improved to 34-26 and are in fourth place in the East.
Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, back after missing three games with a hamstring injury, scored 17 points, but Chicago allowed more than 100 points for the 14th straight game.
The Bulls fell to 30-29 and ninth place in the Eastern Conference – half a game behind Detroit for the eighth and final playoff spot.
LILLARD LIFTS TRAIL BLAZERS
In New York, Portland’s Damian Lillard scored 30 points to lead the Trail Blazers to their 10th win in 12 games, 104-85 over the Knicks.
Lillard scored 24 points in a dominant first half – including 14 in less than three minutes late in the second quarter.
C.J. McCollum helped the Trail Blazers distance themselves further after the interval, scoring 21 of his 25 in the second half.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 23 points and 10 rebounds, but Anthony was visibly frustrated in a game in which the Knicks again heard boos from their home fans.
For Portland, it was another strong showing from a team that had been expected to finish near the bottom of the rugged Western Conference after losing four starters from last season’s team.
But the Trail Blazers, who went 9-2 in February to earn Terry Stotts Coach of the Month honours in the West, are instead in sixth place in the conference.