Miami Heat's 27-game win streak ended in Chicago
Chicago Bulls end Miami Heat's 27-game win streak with victory
Miami Heat's incredible 27-game winning streak ended at the hands of the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night as 28 points from Luol Deng downed Erik Spoelstra's side.
The Bulls snapped the streak with a 101-97 victory inside the United Center in Chicago, despite missing three of their starting five.
Deng added seven rebounds, five assists and two steals to his 28 points, while Carlos Boozer tacked on another 21 points and a massive 17 rebounds.
The defeat left Miami six wins short of the 1971-1972 LA Lakers' famous 33-game record, and their attention will now shift to defending their NBA championship title.
After the game, LeBron James, who pilled on 32 points, complained about a couple of rough defensive plays from the Bulls, and James himself picked up a flagrant foul for a lowered shoulder into Boozer running a pick and roll screen.
But he also spoke about the legendary streak - the second best in NBA history.
James told ESPN: "It's one of the best that this league has ever seen. We recognised that and rightfully so."
The Heat's last loss, against the Indiana Pacers, was back on February 1, but after a number of tight wins and come-from-behind victories they fell short again for only the fifteenth time this campaign.
The streak was punctuated by improbable wins - seven times double-digit deficits were overturned, on 11 occasions they came back after trailing going into the fourth quarter.
They struggled when they shouldn't have, against the likes of Detroit, Sacramento, Charlotte and Orlando, and ran riot against play-off contenders like Oklahoma City, LA Clippers and the Bulls. But all good things must come to an end.
The loss should give the Heat the opportunity to rest their stars for a play-off run, one they hope will end in a second consecutive NBA title.
The Bulls were missing Joakim Noah, Marco Belinelli, Richard Hamilton and 2011 MVP winner Derrick Rose. But they were superb all night, showing great toughness, togetherness and team spirit to stretch into an early 13-point lead.
The Heat battled back, largely thanks to LeBron, and even took the lead briefly in the third quarter. But a couple of big three-pointers from Deng and a monster dunk by Jimmy Butler electrified the United Center crowd, and the streak looked vulnerable.
The Heat tried to rally, looking to James for the spark. He got fired up, and was visibly frustrated at a couple of rough fouls - one in particular by Taj Gibson made contact around the neck.
But this time they couldn't get it done.