This was expected all along.

The Miami Heat had finished their recent pushover portion of the schedule. If they were going to continue challenging history, they would have to get past the meat part of the obstacle.

And this time, an early hole was just too much to overcome.

The Heat ran out of comebacks in their attempt to break one of the league's oldest records. They fell just short, losing 101-97 to the Chicago Bulls Wednesday. It ended the Heat's 27-game winning streak, leaving them six shy of the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers mark of 33.

It was the Heat's first loss since Feb. 1, and their second to the Bulls this season. It came against a Chicago team that hardly resembled the one the Heat faced in the Eastern Conference Finals two years ago or captured the No. 1 seed last season.

It is a makeshift lineup, without three core players, that will be remembered for ending the second-longest win streak in league history. Luol Deng led four Bulls players in double-figures with 28 points. LeBron James scored a game-high 32 points for the Heat.

"It doesn't matter who's playing on either side," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "The last two years when these two teams come together, it's going to be very competitive."

The Heat had all the reason to enter this one with overconfidence. They welcomed the return of guard Dwyane Wade, who missed the two previous games with soreness in his right knee. They were also in the familiar position of facing an opponent without a few of their key players.

Inactive for the Bulls were center Joakim Noah and guards Richard Hamilton and Marco Belinelli, all significant contributors sidelined with injuries. This was on top of guard Derrick Rose, rumored throughout the past couple days to return, still out with a knee injury.

As they have in situations as such all season _ facing an undermanned team _ the Heat struggled at the start. It was no different than when they played the Cleveland Cavaliers without Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters or the Orlando Magic minus Nikola Vucevic and Arron Affalo.