CHICAGO (CBSMiami/AP) — Don't look now but the Miami Heat may be turning their season around.
Dwyane Wade scored 26 points, Chris Bosh finished with 20 and Hassan Whiteside had unconventional triple-double to help Miami beat the sluggish Chicago Bulls 96-84 Sunday.
The Heat have now won six of their last ten games. Before that run, they had won six of their previous 19 games.
Whiteside had a career high 12 blocks to go with 14 points and 13 rebounds for Miami. The 12 blocks are a new Miami Heat record and a single-game high for the NBA this season.
Luol Deng scored 15 in his return to Chicago. Mario Chalmers had 15 points, and the Heat squashed whatever momentum the Bulls appeared to be building after beating San Antonio and Dallas.
Miami led by 10 at halftime, 12 going into the fourth quarter and remained in control the rest of the way.
Wade and Bosh came through with strong performances. Deng had 10 rebounds and four assists in his first game at the United Center since the Bulls traded him to Cleveland last season. And Whiteside wreaked all kinds of havoc in just 24 minutes after missing two games with a sprained right ankle.
Pau Gasol had 13 points and 17 rebounds for Chicago, giving him 50 over the past three games. Derrick Rose scored 19 for Chicago but missed all six 3-pointers.
Aaron Brooks scored 17. But Chicago kept settling for jumpers and shot just 35.6 percent overall while hitting just 7 of 24 3-pointers.
It was certainly not what the Bulls had in mind after handing the Spurs their most lopsided loss of the season Thursday in Chicago and then winning at Dallas the following night. Those two wins on the heels of a 2-6 slide seemed like strong signals they were coming around. But this was a big step back. Worse, the Bulls are staring at a tough six-game trip that starts Tuesday at Golden State.
The Bulls were within 83-76 after Brooks' four-point play with 6:36 left in the game. But the Heat stayed in control thanks to three dunks by Whiteside in about a two-minute span.
That spree started with an alley-oop from Chalmers and continued with a dunk over Gasol off a feed from Deng to make it an 11-point game.
Whiteside then answered a layup by Chicago's Taj Gibson with another dunk, his third in about a two-minute span.
He also had a neat block on a driving Aaron Brooks about 1:30 left, pinning the ball against the glass, and Wade followed with a fadeaway shot to make it 93-84.
Heat: All sorts of emotions and memories hit Deng as he arrived at the United Center. No surprise there. After all, he spent his first nine-plus seasons in Chicago before getting dealt to Cleveland, and this was his first trip back.
"I'm glad that I made a lot of friends here and it's good to come back because when I left I didn't say any (good)byes," Deng said. "It's taken a lot of energy just seeing everybody. It seems like it was yesterday to be honest."
The Bulls honored Deng with a video tribute, showing clips of his time in Chicago, during a timeout in the first quarter.
Bulls: Chicago was again without Mike Dunleavy Jr., who missed his 13th straight game because of a right ankle injury. The Bulls keep saying he's close to returning, but coach Tom Thibodeau said he is "just not comfortable enough to be in a game."
Heat: Host Milwaukee on Tuesday.
Bulls: Visit Golden State on Tuesday.
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
for more features.