"I'm starting to feel a little more comfortable out there, and I think guys are starting to feel more comfortable with me," he said. "It's something we can build on. Being able to put me in that starting lineup showed some confidence in me."
James, missing a game for only the second time this season, drew a big ovation when he was shown on the video scoreboard during an early timeout. During another timeout in the fourth quarter, when the Heat had built a big cushion, he danced to music blaring over the public address system while his teammates huddled.
They scored on seven consecutive possessions during a 16-2 run at the end of the third quarter that put them ahead 65-52. The catalysts were unlikely: In quick succession, Andersen dunked on an alley-oop, Allen hit a runner and Beasley banked home a basket.
"It doesn't matter if LeBron's out," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "They're a good team. That team has other players. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade — those are All-Stars, too. The bench is deep. That's a championship team."
NOTES: Spoelstra earned his 300th victory in his 448th game. Only five coaches reached the milestone more quickly, including his boss, Pat Riley, who did it the fastest at 416 games. ... Wade's seven offensive rebounds were a career high. ... The Bulls fell to 24-6 when leading after one quarter. ... Miami improved to 8-1 in February.