Notebook: Heat 94, Bulls 91



Posted May 15, 2013 11:11 PM

By Zachary Paul, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: LeBron James scored 23 points and a resurgent Dwyane Wade added 18 points to lead the Miami Heat past the Chicago Bulls 94-91 Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena, clinching the series 4-1 and advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals for a third straight year.

James and Wade were key in helping the Heat avoid blowing an early 18-point lead and then overcoming an 11-point, second-half deficit. The Bulls led 75-64 with 1:50 left in the third quarter before the Heat rallied in the fourth.

The Heat grabbed their first lead of the second half, 82-81, on Norris Cole's jumpshot with 6:48 remaining. Miami then did just enough to hold off the Bulls, who had two chances to tie in the closing seconds. Richard Hamilton and Jimmy Butler each missed 3-pointers that would have potentially forced overtime.

Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 26 points and 14 rebounds.

QUOTABLE: "It's a shame. I think everybody wanted to see both teams healthy. You survive and move on ... We all know they've gone through a great deal of adversity. Everybody wanted to see both teams compete."

--Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on the Bulls

THE STAT: The Heat held the Bulls to just 14 points on 6-for-18 shooting in the fourth quarter.

TURNING POINT: Trailing by 11, the Heat went on a 10-2 run late in the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth. It got them back into the game before the strong finish.

QUOTABLE II: "It is sort of the story of the season. I told these guys this yesterday. Obviously, we're disappointed in losing the series, but I was never disappointed in the team. I thought our team fought hard all year long."

--Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau

HOT: Boozer was huge for the Bulls all the game, except when the team needed him most. He missed a short jumper in the closing seconds that would have pulled them to within a point. Still, he finished 10-for-19 from the field and kept his team in the game.

NOT: Marco Belinelli finished with just three points, ending a tough series for him. His struggles showed just how much Chicago missed Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich.

GOOD MOVE: The decision to move Wade on Hamilton was the right call. Hamilton was the difference-maker until Wade delivered some solid defense in the fourth quarter. Hamilton scored just four points in the fourth.

BAD MOVE: With the season on the line, Hamilton and Butler both had clean looks to potentially force overtime. Hamilton passed up an open 3 in the corner while Butler missed badly on another good look.

UP NEXT: The Heat will play the New York Knicks or Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.