MIAMI—You can quibble over the Bulls' stunning 130-127 double-overtime loss to the Heat Monday night and look at their 23 turnovers and critical missed free throws.
You can question why Derrick Rose didn't have the ball at the end and Ben Gordon never got a last-second play call or how in the world did Dwayne Wade break free for a missed layup attempt at the first overtime buzzer.
It's that good.
"I probably had Kobe and Bron neck-and-neck for MVP with Wade third," veteran guard Lindsey Hunter whispered in a silent Bulls locker room afterward. "That order has changed."
So has the playoff order as Wade's heroics, which featured 48 points, 12 assists and four steals, dropped the Bulls back into a virtual tie with Milwaukee for the final spot.
If the Bulls fail to make the playoffs, they'll remember Wade's shot, which came after he stripped John Salmons with 3.6 seconds left, dribbled three times and let fly on the run.
"That's probably the toughest loss ever," said Gordon, whose 43 points featured eight three-pointers. "DWade willed his team to win."
Things looked bleak when Wade found Michael Beasley for an alley-oop dunk, foul on Joakim Noah and three-point play for a five-point lead with 2:19 left.
But Derrick Rose scored four straight points sandwiched around Wade splitting a pair of free throws and then Tyrus Thomas---who played nine seconds in the fourth quarter and first overtime---blocked Udonis Haslem's shot and dunked Rose's miss home to tie the game at 125-125.
Wade and Salmons traded jumpers, and Haslem missed a jumper, setting up the Bulls' final possession. Coach Vinny Del Negro defended his play call, citing Haslem guarding Salmons.
"We ran a clear out and I tried to go with five seconds left," Salmons said. "It was a good matchup because I had a big man on me. Wade just came out of nowhere."
Salmons finished with 29 points for the banged-up Bulls, who used just seven players. That included Kirk Hinrich, who grimaced through 19 minutes after sitting out the morning shootaround with his bruised right quadriceps.
The Bulls trailed 117-112 in the first overtime when Gordon made a three-pointer with 19.8 seconds left. Wade then bricked both free throws with 17.1 seconds left.
Salmons, who scored eight of the Bulls' 13 first overtime points, tied the game with two clutch free throws with 3.7 seconds left.
Wade then somehow snuck free for that reverse layup---and also somehow missed it.
The crazy game featured a 13-point Bulls first-half lead and a 14-point Heat third-quarter lead.
The Bulls, who again played without Tim Thomas, trailed 94-91 in regulation when Gordon went nuts, scoring 18 of the Bulls' final 20 points in regulation.
Gordon, though, only split two free throws with 20.9 seconds left in regulation, allowing Wade to tie the game with a three-pointer over Salmons with 11.5 seconds left.
Rose's driving bank shot rimmed out and Noah's tip attempt missed at the regulation buzzer.
"My points mean nothing," Gordon said. "We lost."