CHICAGO — Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler understand it.
The real victory for the Chicago Bulls will come when they’re knocking the Miami Heat out of the playoffs, not during the regular season — no matter how charged the atmosphere is.
Even so, they’ll take this.
Noah had 20 points and 12 rebounds, D.J. Augustin scored 22, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Miami Heat 95-88 in overtime Sunday after Butler blocked LeBron James at the end of regulation.
“I want what they have — a championship,” Noah said. “One day, we’re going to have to get through those guys.”
Dwyane Wade scored 25 for Miami, but with James struggling again, the Heat dropped their third straight to match their longest losing streak of the season.
James scored 17 points on 8-of-23 shooting, and couldn’t come through after Miami blew a 12-point lead down the stretch. With a chance to win it at the end of regulation, James got stripped by Butler on a layup attempt.
In overtime, it was all Bulls, as Chicago outscored Miami 9-2 to take the win.
Celtics 118, Pistons 111: In Boston, Rajon Rondo had 18 of Boston’s season-high 38 assists and Boston committed just seven turnovers in the win.
Jeff Green scored 27 points, Kris Humphries had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Kelly Olynyk added 18 points off the bench for the Celtics in their second-highest scoring output of the season.
Josh Smith had 28 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, and was one of three Detroit players with double-doubles.
Pelicans 111, Nuggets 107, OT: In New Orleans, Anthony Davis erupted for 32 points and 17 rebounds in the victory. Tyreke Evans contributed 20, and three other Pelicans scored in double figures.
Forward Kenneth Faried led Denver with 22 points and 14 boards. Ty Lawson and Evan Fournier each scored 15.
Nets 104, Kings 89: In Brooklyn, Marcus Thornton scored 15 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter against his old team, while Joe Johnson added 18 points to help Brooklyn overcome an injury to Paul Pierce. The Nets won for the fifth time in six games.
DeMarcus Cousins had 20 points and 28 rebounds to lead Sacramento, and Rudy Gay added 20 points.
Raptors 111, Timberwolves 104: In Minneapolis, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry had 20 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his fourth career triple-double.
The surprising Raptors, who have won nine of their last 11 games, surged to third place in the East.
Kevin Love had 26 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists to pace Minnesota. Nikola Pekovic added 17 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
Lakers 114, Thunder 110: In Los Angeles, Jodie Meeks scored 24 of his career-high 42 points in the second half to lead Los Angeles past Oklahoma City despite a triple-double by Thunder star Kevin Durant.
Pau Gasol added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the injury-ravaged Lakers, who had lost 29 of their previous 37 games.
Durant had 27 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists for his third triple-double this season. Serge Ibaka had 21 points and 15 boards for Oklahoma City.
Rockets 118, Trail Blazers 113, OT: In Houston, former Arizona State star James Harden poured in 41 points in the win, while teammate Jeremy Lin had 26.
Dwight Howard added 17 points with 12 rebounds for the Rockets. Harden also had 10 rebounds, six assists and six steals.
Wesley Matthews led Portland with 26 points, and Damian Lillard finished with 21.
Mavericks 105, Pacers 94: In Dallas, Monta Ellis and Devin Harris each scored 20 points, and Dallas extended Indiana’s season-long losing streak to four. Dirk Nowitzki chipped in 14 for the Mavs.
Paul George had 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Pacers, who remained a game and a half up on Miami for the lead in the Eastern Conference.