THE FACTS: After an aggressive first half that saw three technical fouls and one ejection, the Miami Heat outlasted the Chicago Bulls 104-94 Friday at the United Center to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series. LeBron James scored 25 points, 17 in the second half, to lead Miami, which also got 20 points and 19 rebounds from Chris Bosh. The Bulls got 21 points from Carlos Boozer and 15 points and 11 rebounds from Joakim Noah.
THE FACTS II: Noah got a technical foul in the final minute of the first quarter for pushing Chris Anderson off of teammate Nate Robinson after Anderson fell on top of Robinson. In the second quarter, James and Bulls backup center Nazr Mohammed got tangled up, James got a quick technical foul, then Mohammed pushed James to the ground and got ejected.
THE FACTS III: Because the Bulls still had three starters out in Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose, they had to start three bench players in Jimmy Butler, Marco Belinelli and Robinson, leaving them with no bench help. Meanwhile, the Heat got 18 points from backup guard Norris Cole, including three 3-pointers.
QUOTABLE I: "You can't win a championship being pretty and shiny. You have to get dirty. You have to dive on the floor. You have to do things that are extremely tough."
THE STAT: The Bulls and Heat each had 35 field goals, but the Heat outshot the Bulls in every category: field goal percentage (50 percent to 45.5 percent), 3-point shooting (40 percent to 32 percent) and free throw shooting (87 percent to 68 percent). By the end of the game, the Heat also had a small rebounding edge, 39-37, and each game has been won by the team with the most rebounds.
THE STAT II: The Bulls were called for 30 fouls to just 20 for the Heat. Noah and Belinelli fouled out, and Butler had five fouls for the Bulls. Shane Battier fouled out for the Heat, but no Heat starter had more than three fouls.
THE STAT III: At halftime, the Heat led by two points, 52-50, but James had just eight points and Dwyane Wade had just two points on one shot.
TURNING POINT: After Belinelli made a 3-pointer with three minutes remaining to bring the Bulls to within four points at 90-86, James made a 3-pointer, and after Boozer made a 2-pointer at the Bulls' end, Cole hit his final 3 of the game to give the Heat a 96-88 lead.
INJURY UPDATE: Deng remained out following complications from a spinal tap, Hinrich continues to try to rehabilitate his sore calf and Rose remains out because of his ACL tear from over one year ago.
HOT: Cole was six for seven from the field and is 16 for 20 in the series. That's hot.
QUOTABLE II: "I still have a long way to go but I'm pleased with my progress so far."
NOT: James was six for 17 from the field but made all 11 free throws he attempted. Taj Gibson was 2 of 9 from the field for the Bulls.
GOOD MOVE: The Heat shot 53 percent in the fourth quarter when the Bulls tried to put pressure on them, and James had 12 of his 25 in the final quarter.
BAD MOVE: Mohammed's push limited the Bulls to only two bench players coach Tom Thibodeau would use, guard Marquis Teague and Gibson.
QUOTABLE III: "I was just trying to stop the play. I don't take people doing things to me. I know there are kids watching at home, but I can't say I won't do it again."
-- Bulls center Mohammed talking about his push foul against LeBron James that got him ejected.
QUOTABLE IV: "Nazr is a quiet guy. It's the quiet ones you have to worry about."
ROOKIE WATCH: Trying to spell Robinson a bit, Teague played just 111 minutes, scored two points, had a pair of rebounds and an assist but no turnovers.
NOTABLE: The Bulls outscored the Heat in the paint 44-28... Jimmy Butler has played 48 minutes four times in the last five playoff games... Noah's numbers of 15 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks mark the first time a Bulls players had at least those numbers in each category in a playoff game since Michael Jordan had 34 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks in a game against Atlanta in 1997.
UP NEXT: The Heat and Bulls play Game 4 in the series Monday at the United Center (7 p.m. ET, TNT).