Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls: Moving On Up

Jermaine O'Neal must be an avid reader of Riptide, because last night it looked like he was motivated by one of our posts when he led the Heat to one of its most lopsided victories of the season. The team ripped the Bulls a new one to the tune of 103-74.

O'Neal got to the business of kicking ass early on, opening shop in the paint and going seven for 11. He scored 18 points in the first half alone. J.O. took advantage of the Chicago team, which featured a limited Joakim Noah and no Luel Deng. O'Neal finished the night with a game-high 24 points. In all probability, he went home with Vinny Del Negro's wife. That's just the kind of night the dude was having.

Because O'Neal was dominating the Bulls, Dwyane Wade needed to play only 29 minutes and score 12 points. Meanwhile, Wade's young ward, Michael Beasley, stepped up with a solid 15 points. It was his third consecutive game with 15 or more points. Not too shabby. Of course, everyone in the world but Erik Spoelstra realizes Beasley is capable of this kind of thing on a regular basis. But that's for another post.

Today we celebrate. Because the Heat not only opened a can of

whoop-ass on Chicago but also Fed-Ex'd a whole crate-load of it.

The game was a far cry from when the two teams met two weeks ago and got

into a heated shouting match, which culminated in Bulls guard Kirk

Hinrich losing his shit. He had a monumental hissy fit and was ejected

from the game. This time, Miami held the Bulls to their lowest point

total of the season. They even led by as much as 40 at one point in the


Best of all, the Heat jumped into the sixth spot in the

playoff race, leapfrogging idle Charlotte and setting themselves up for

two big games against fifth-place Milwaukee on Friday and eighth-place

Toronto on Sunday.

Riptide is watching you, Jermaine. Are you


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Chris Joseph