NBA - Heat win ninth straight, tighten grip on East

Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:28pm IST

Chicago Bulls' Taj Gibson (R) is guarded by Miami Heat's Chris Bosh (C) during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Chicago, Illinois, February 21, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young

Chicago Bulls' Taj Gibson (R) is guarded by Miami Heat's Chris Bosh (C) during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Chicago, Illinois, February 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

(Reuters) - The Miami Heat tightened their grip on the Eastern Conference by routing the Chicago Bulls 86-67 on Thursday.

With the NBA's trade deadline passing without any change among top contenders, LeBron James missed just four shots while compiling 26 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists as Miami won their season-high ninth straight and stretched their conference lead to 5 1/2 games.

"We're putting together some good basketball right now," James told reporters. "If we don't turn the ball over, we get good shots at the rim, we have a good chance to win."

Miami (38-14) grabbed a 45-35 halftime lead and cruised against a Chicago team struggling to find offense without 2011 MVP Derrick Rose, who is hoping to return from a knee injury that has kept him on the sidelines this season.

After his brother had criticized Chicago ahead of the game for not making moves before the trade deadline, Rose said in a statement he and the Bulls were on the same page.

"I have always felt that the Bulls organization's goals have been the same as mine and that is to bring another championship to this city," he said.

Chicago (31-23) look far off championship contenders after losing for the fifth time in seven games.

Nate Robinson had 14 points for the Bulls, who were without Kirk Hinrich due to a sore elbow and committed 26 turnovers.

The Heat got 17 points from Dwyane Wade and 12 from Bosh. (Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Reuters Showcase

Putin Critic Killed

Putin Critic Killed

Russians march in memory of murdered Putin critic.  Full Article 

Pakistan's First Win

Pakistan's First Win

Irfan bounces Zimbabwe out as Pakistan claim first win.  Full Article 

Budget 2015

Budget 2015

Full coverage of 2015/16 budget.  Full Coverage 

Hacked to Death

Hacked to Death

Bangladesh pays tribute to U.S. blogger killed in machete attack.  Full Article 

The Apple Car

The Apple Car

Apple car rumours fuel Geneva debate about car of future.  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

"Dum Laga Ke Haisha" is rooted in reality, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar.  Full Article | Related Story 

Crowded Market

Crowded Market

China's Huawei enters smartwatch frenzy with round-face models.  Full Article 

Lathmar Holi

In Pics: Lathmar Holi

Images of "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon in Uttar Pradesh.  Full Coverage 

World Cup 2015

World Cup 2015

Full coverage of cricket world cup in Australia and New Zealand.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage