77 - 90 Final
  for this game

Wade, Cook carry Heat past Bulls for fourth straight win

Dec 27, 2008 - 1:55 AM By Christopher Stock PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MIAMI (Ticker) -- Thanks to a huge fourth quarter Friday night, the Miami Heat have matched their longest winning streak of the season.

The Heat dominated the final period - which included a 10-0 run - en route to their fourth victory in a row, 90-77, over the Chicago Bulls.

Dwyane Wade, the league's leading scorer, carried the load once again with 28 points - but it was Miami's role players that really closed it out. Daequan Cook buried three 3-pointers in a three-minute span in the fourth, helping turn a tight ballgame into a 15-point cushion for the Heat.

"I love when Daequan is hitting those shots," Wade said. "He kept saying (at) halftime that he was saving it for the second half. He hit some big, big shots for us."

The game served as a showdown between the two top picks from June's NBA draft - Chicago point guard Derrick Rose and Miami forward Michael Beasley - but it was second-rounder Mario Chalmers who outdid them all. The Heat's point guard collected 16 points, six assists and five rebounds.

"I think it means something extra just because we all came in together," Chalmers said. "Of course, we are competing together, but we're still friends off the court. I think that's the main thing with our class."

Though he has struggled at times during his rookie campaign and has seen his minutes dwindle, Beasley came out on top in his first head-to-head matchup with Rose.

"It does mean more," Beasley said. "I'm extra happy right now. It wasn't a bad decision with Derrick Rose, but I felt I should have went (first overall). Them being a rival and passing me up, this one feels a whole lot better."

The 6-8 forward collected 14 points, five boards and a pair of blocks, while Rose struggled through one of the weakest games of his young career. The Memphis product hit just 3-of-14 from the floor, posting 10 points, five turnovers and just three assists.

"It was just one of those nights," Rose said. "I was thinking too much out there. I've just got to forget about it; we have another game tomorrow."

Miami, which opened December with four straight wins before dropping three in a row, matched its four-game stretch by outscoring Chicago, 26-13, in the fourth quarter.

Ben Gordon, who led the Bulls with 15 points, got things started as he scored 11 in the first quarter - including three 3-pointers to give the Bulls a 21-18 edge at the end of one. The teams played a closely contested first half with the Bulls taking a 45-40 lead into the break.

Wade picked off a pass by Rose midway through the third quarter and raced in for a one-handed dunk to give the Heat a 52-51 lead, their first since a 32-30 edge in the second quarter.

The game was tied, 64-64, heading into the fourth quarter. Beasley - playing extended minutes down the stretch - drained a pair of buckets early in the period before Cook took over from the perimeter. The second-year guard connected from the left corner to give the Heat a 76-71 lead.

"My confidence is high, where it needs to be," Cook said. "Me defending well has gotten me an opportunity for my offense to be there."

Another three from Cook stretched the Heat's lead to 81-73 with less than six minutes left.

"I was in the zone and that's how it's been the last five or six games for me," Cook said.

Frustration set in for the Bulls after a dunk attempt by Tyrus Thomas was blocked by Beasley, as Thomas wrapped up Udonis Haslem on the rebound. Haslem knocked down both free throws, stretching the Heat's lead to 13 points as they led comfortably the rest of the way.

"I thought it was a Miami Heat basketball-type win there in the fourth quarter," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "There were a lot of great defensive contributions from a lot of different people. That was one of our better defensive games beginning to end."

Up by 13, Spoelstra called a 20-second timeout with 31 seconds left, much to the dismay of the Bulls' bench, which was visibly upset.

"They were just calling timeout to set up a play or something, I don't know what they were doing," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "There's 30 seconds to go in the game, they are up 15 or 13 or whatever. Whatever, we'll play them again."

Bulls forward Luol Deng left the game midway through the third quarter with an apparent left ankle injury. Deng was going up for a rebound under the basket but badly rolled his ankle and collapsed to the floor. He was carted off the court and did not return.

"I don't know how bad, but it's an ankle sprain and I'm not sure how long exactly he'll be out, but he'll be out," Del Negro said. "I know he's sore."