By Jeff Arnold – For the Sun-Times
Pau Gasol anticipated the question before it was asked.
On a night in which the Bulls were forced to play the second half without Derrick Rose and poor offensive execution in the fourth quarter led to an 89-84 loss to the Heat, the inconsistency that has plagued them all season resurfaced.
“There’s definitely a pattern — it’s repetitive, and it happens and it’s happened all season long,” said Gasol, who led the Bulls with 19 points and 17 rebounds and already had a double-double in the first quarter Monday. “Right now, that’s just who we are.”
To make matters worse, the loss left the Bulls even more short-handed.
Rose left the game with hamstring soreness after playing only 13 minutes. The Bulls already were without Kirk Hinrich (left quadriceps bruise) and E’Twaun Moore (hamstring). Moore might return Thursday, when the Bulls face the Lakers in Los Angeles to start a 13-day, seven-game road trip.
Rose did not return for the second half after experiencing discomfort on a layup in the second quarter.
Coach Fred Hoiberg said Rose, who was fine at the morning shootaround before the soreness worsened later in the day, will be re-evaluated Tuesday morning.
“We were short-handed going into this one at point guard, and [Rose’s] injury didn’t help,” Hoiberg said. “You have to find a way to fight through those times. We didn’t do that.”
Rose’s absence left Aaron Brooks as the Bulls’ lone healthy point guard.
Brooks scored 13 points, Nikola Mirotic had 15 and Jimmy Butler contributed 13, but the Bulls couldn’t protect an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost their third game in the last four as well as their fourth in a row at the United Center.
“There is just a consistent energy we need to have,” Brooks said. “We had it in the first [half]. We played hard, but things just didn’t go our way in the second half.”
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