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Most players didn't know Tyson Chandler had been suspended for Monday night's game until they arrived at American Airlines Arena, overlooking the fact that Chandler hadn't ridden the team bus.
Insert your own punch line about Chandler's forgettable season in light of that scenario.
But few Bulls were in a laughing mood after losing their fifth straight game and for the 12th time in 14 games, subdued by Miami 105-96. The Bulls have lost nine straight in this arena.
Chandler watched the game from his hotel room. Earlier Monday, he learned that the punch he threw at Atlanta reserve Michael Bradley's shins Saturday had earned him a one-game suspension without pay. Chandler forfeited $46,394.63.
"I was definitely surprised," Chandler said. "I didn't think it was much of an altercation. I didn't throw a punch at the guy or anything. If it looked like that, then I understand the suspension. But it wasn't meant to be like that. I was just reacting to being thrown down."
Bradley drew a flagrant foul on the play, which knocked Chandler out of the game with a sore back.
"I'm not surprised, because the rule states what it states," general manager John Paxson said. "But, come on, he was making an effort at an ankle."
Chandler's action didn't warrant an ejection.
"I wouldn't have called that a punch," coach Scott Skiles said. "But that's what it was ruled as being. You don't have to make contact or anythingor if you throw it at a shin."
The Bulls threw their best shot at a torrid Heat team, which won for the 11th time in 13 games despite playing without Lamar Odom and losing Malik Allen in the second quarter to a knee injury.
The Bulls led 80-74 in the fourth quarter before Caron Butler and Dwyane Wade took over. Butler scored 12 of his season-high 30 points and grabbed four of his career-high 13 rebounds in the fourth.
Wade had eight of his 21 points and three of his seven assists, including a huge one to Rafer Alston for a back-breaking three-pointer with 82 seconds remaining.
"When the game got tight and the pressure mounted, we had a hard time maintaining our concentration," Skiles said. "But, overall, we had a much better effort."
Butler's fiance gave birth to a daughter, Mia Caron, on Monday, and Butler thought about not playing. He changed his mind only when he learned that Odom's sore right knee would keep him out.
Layups: Second-round pick Mario Austin's new league, the World Basketball Association, isn't under the jurisdiction of FIBA, the world's governing body for the sport. Thus Austin is able to play for the Jackson (Miss.) Rage even though his bizarre buyout story with CSKA in Moscow is ongoing.
Jerome Williams (sprained left ankle) said "it's too early to tell" if he'll be able to play Friday against the Clippers.