By Roman David Garay PhilBoxing.com Thu, 03 Mar 2016
MIAMI - Miami Heat's newly acquired swingman Joe Johnson got a warm welcome from the American Airlines Arena crowd, Tuesday night.
Miami then displayed their best offensive game this season, shot a franchise record 67.5 percent in their 129-111 rout against the ailing Chicago Bulls.
Johnson reciprocated the fans well in his home debut and scored 11 of his 24 points in a pivotal third quarter. He added 5 boards and 4 assists and was instrumental in stretching what was just a three point halftime lead 65-62 to 13 points at the end of the third 95-82.
Hassan Whiteside delivered 26 points, his career high, and grabbed 14 rebounds in his 8th straight game off the bench for Miami. Heat captain Dwyane Wade added 18 points while Goran Dragic added 17 points and 11 assists.
The Heat are just the second team in the 2000's to shoot 67.5 percent or better in a game and the fourth team since 1990.
The Bulls played without its usual starters Jimmy Butler ( knee) Joakim Noah ( shoulder) and Nikola Mirotic (appendicitis) due to injuries.
Chicago's bench sliced a 19-point fourth quarter deficit to 100-100 following an Aaron Brooks triple in the final 5:39 of play. But the answered answered with a 21-6 run to finish off their visitors.
In his first matchup back after missing a couple games due to an injury Derrick Rose scored 17 points while Pau Gasol added 15 points and 9 rebounds.
Miami has improved to 5-2 in seven games since Chris Bosh became inactive post All-Star break.
Miami remains a game and a half behind the Boston Celtics for the third spot in the Eastern Conference standings while the Bulls fall to 9th in the same conference.
Miami Heat will play the Phoenix Suns on Thursday Mar. 3 while the Chicago Bulls visit Orlando on Wednesday night, March 2.
Photo: Joe Johnson (R) made a splashing debut as a Heat shooter, draining 24 points as Miami pummeled Chicago at the American Airlines Arena.