CHICAGO, May 4 (Ticker) -- Shaquille O'Neal
showed up to show the
Chicago Bulls the door.
O'Neal turned back the clock when he used to dominate on a
nightly basis as the Miami Heat coasted into the Eastern
Conference semifinals with a 113-96 victory over the Bulls in
Game 6 of their first-round series.
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A three-time NBA Finals MVP, the 7-1, 325-pound O'Neal finished with 30 points and 20
rebounds in his best game of the series for the second-seeded
"When I was in the game my guys were looking for me," O'Neal
said. "I was getting the ball in the right spots, then I was
able to get my shots and hit them."
Unlike Games 3 and 4 here when he battled foul trouble
and combined for just 24 points and 12 rebounds, O'Neal had no
trouble staying on the court Wednesday. The Bulls had no answers
and were eliminated in the first round for a second straight
"If I'm on the court and I'm active that's how it's going to be
most of the time," O'Neal said. "Games 2, 3, 4 and
5, I was in foul trouble. Tonight I wasn't in foul trouble
so I could do what I do."
O'Neal toyed with the combination of Tyson Chandler
and Mike Sweetney
and made 13-of-24 shots in 38 minutes.
With O'Neal leading the way, the Heat - who lost both Games
3 and 4 - were in control from the outset. They never
trailed and built a double-digit lead in the first quarter
before settling for a 55-41 cushion at the half.
"I think we started the game extremely well," Heat coach Pat Riley
said. "We weren't turning it over and we were scoring.
They were missing a lot of shots. We came out and established
ourselves, while they seemed a little bit tight in the
O'Neal had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Dwyane Wade
points in the first half, when the Heat shot 56 percent
(20-of-36). Chicago shot a woeful 32 percent (12-of-38) in the
first half and never were able to recover.
"The last two games we left the page of what we like to do,"
Bulls coach Scott Skiles
said. "We hard a hard time reeling it
back in, tonight I think they played their best game of the
Wade had little trouble with the bruised hip he suffered in Game
5 as he scored 23 points before fouling out and Udonis Haslem
had 17 and 14 rebounds for Miami, which will meet
third-seeded New Jersey in the conference semifinals. New
Jersey won three of the four meetings between the teams during
the regular season.
"Our coaches will have a great game plan put together," Wade
said. "No matter where the games in the next series are played, at home or on the road they will be great games."
The Heat were in control the entire second half, although the
Bulls got as close as 97-88 with 4:57 remaining on Ben Gordon
three-point play. But Haslem scored five straight points and
had a steal and layup to help the Heat put away the
"At that point I hit the boards and got some offensive
rebounds," Haslem said. "I was struggling early with my offense.
In the second half I just tried to be much more aggressive."
Posey made five 3-pointers and scored 18 points for Miami, which
had been 0-9 all-time at Chicago in the postseason.
"There was a lot of pressure on us this series," Riley said.
"From what I hear not many people wanted us to win."
scored 23 points, Gordon 21 and Andres Nocioni
for the Bulls, who shot 41 percent (31-of-75) and were
"It's very disappointing not to advance," Hinrich said. "We had
this series tied at 2-2, then for the most part we just had a
couple of really rough games where we didn't play like
"Some nights you make shots and some nights you don't," Gordon
said. "Unfortunately the last two losses our backcourt had
trouble making shots."