Wade scored 14 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter and O'Neal
had 27 points and 16 rebounds as the Heat recovered for a
111-106 victory over the scrappy Chicago Bulls in Game One of
their Eastern Conference first-round series.
Jason Williams scored 17 points for the second-seeded Heat, who
shot 63 percent (24-of-38) from the field in the first half but
had to scramble in the fourth quarter to turn back a rally
by the seventh-seeded Bulls.
"You're going to see that kind of series," said Heat coach
Pat Riley, who was coaching in the postseason for the first time in
five years. "I thought we did a great job at the end of finally
closing down and forcing some misses."
"I felt like we should have stole that game. We were right
there," Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich said. "I see it more as a
The series opener became a battle of attrition, as the Heat lost
Haslem to an ejection in the second quarter and Wade to cramps
in the final minute. Meanwhile, the Bulls saw Hinrich and center
Tyson Chandler foul out.
With 4:11 left in the second quarter, Haslem beat a trio of
Bulls to a loose ball but lost his balance beneath the basket.
He threw away a pass as he fell to the floor and - upset that a
foul had not been called - fired his mouthpiece across the court
in the direction of veteran referee Joey Crawford.
Crawford interrupted a potential fast break to whistle Haslem
for a technical foul and eject the power forward, who now faces
a possible league suspension for Game 2 on Monday. A contrite
Haslem apologized afterward.
"I got a little frustrated and threw my mouthpiece at the
ground," Haslem said. "Looking at it on TV, I can see how Joey
would think I was throwing it at him, but I have a tremendous
amount of respect for the officials. We do not always agree,
but I would never physically approach an official or throw
something at an official. ... My intentions were not for the
mouthpiece to bounce in Joey's direction."
"I know U.D. and he doesn't do things like that on purpose,"
O'Neal said. "He's a class guy and everybody in this locker
room knows that. He acted on impulse and that's the end of it."
Sparked by an incited crowd, the Heat closed the first half with
a 20-11 surge fueled by seven points from Wade, turning a
three-point lead into a 63-51 halftime bulge.
"That second quarter hurt us when we gave up 11 layups and they
were shooting 63 percent at halftime," Bulls guard Chris Duhon
said. "Our transition D hurt us."
As they have all season, the Bulls continued to battle. They
closed to 87-82 after three quarters and began the final period
by taking their first lead with a 9-0 run featuring seven points
from Ben Gordon, who scored 35.
Relatively quiet on offense to that point, Wade came alive with
six straight points to reclaim the lead for good for the Heat.
O'Neal had a follow dunk for a 95-91 edge with 6:31 to go.
"I had to pick my spots more than anything and get my teammates
involved," said Wade, who also had 11 assists. "Then, like Shaq
and I always say, the fourth quarter is my time and I tried to
"They're an attacking team," Riley said. "They do a great job
with the energy. If you make a mistake and turn it over,
they're going to come right back at you. For the most part we
found a way - or Dwyane found a way - to break through. With 11
assists, he created more opportunity for everyone else."
A pair of drives by Wade inched the margin to 104-99 before
Chicago's Andres Nocioni drained a 3-pointer with 2:36
remaining. But that was the game's last basket.
After Wade's two free throws made it 107-104 with 1:49 to play,
the teams traded empty possessions until Nocioni missed a
potential tying 3-pointer that was rebounded by Wade, who sank
two more from the line to seal it with 14 seconds left.
"He's a great player," Gordon said. "He is one of the top five
scorers in the league. When guys are struggling they always
find a way to get loose and get their shots. He got to the free
throw line a lot and that's what great players do."
Antoine Walker and James Posey scored 10 points each for the
Heat, who finished at 48 percent (37-of-77) and enjoyed a huge
advantage at the line. Miami made 32-of-39 free throws while
Chicago sank 13-of-17.
Hinrich had 19 points and eight assists and Nocioni added 18 and
16 rebounds for the Bulls, who stayed in it by making 13-of-26
3-pointers. Gordon drained five, Hinrich three and Nocioni and
Chris Duhon two apiece.
O'Neal was very active throughout, making 11-of-16 shots and
adding five blocks. He was a big part of Miami's quick start
and was a factor at the finish as well.
"Pat wanted me to be aggressive offensively," he said. "I
wanted to be aggressive. I was feeling loose and confident
after those days off and I was ready to have a big game."
O'Neal, who won three championships with the Lakers, entered the
game with 171 games of playoff experience compared with 111
combined by the young Bulls.
"Shaquille is a load down there," Chandler said. "It is tough
fighting him down there. Every second you are out there guarding
him is exhausting. He is one of the greatest players ever and
he was on tonight."
The Heat beat the Bulls in the playoffs for just the second time
in 12 meetings. Most of those came during Michael Jordan's
days in Chicago.
Riley notched his 156th career postseason win and trails just Phil Jackson on the all-time list. Jackson, who has 175 playoff victories, coaches the Los Angeles
Lakers at Phoenix on Sunday.