MIAMI, May 2 (Ticker) -- Dwyane Wade
might wake up sore on Wednesday
but he sure feels great right now.
Shortly after taking a nasty fall that left him hobbled, Wade
returned in near-heroic fashion to spark the Miami Heat to a
critical 92-78 victory over the Chicago Bulls in Game Five of
their first-round series.
NBA TV highlights from |
contributed 17 points and Shaquille O'Neal
Miami, which rebounded from road losses in the last two
contests to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. The
Heat can advance to the conference semifinals with a victory in
Chicago on Thursday.
"We needed this win tonight," said O'Neal, who added 10 rebounds
and three blocks. "We want to try and close them out on
Miami appeared to be in serious trouble as it trailed, 55-50,
with less than six minutes remaining in the third quarter. Wade
was out of the game with a bruised hip that he sustained late
in the second quarter and O'Neal was saddled with four fouls.
"I got a shot and I knew the medicine would kick in," Wade said.
"I saw we were down by five and Shaq was hit with his fourth
foul, and I said to the trainer that I was OK. I saw the
opportunity at the timeout to get in there right away and try to
contribute. He was working on me but I had to be out there."
Wade re-entered the game with 5:50 left in the third period and
promptly sparked the Heat on a 16-6 run over the next 10 minutes
that totally changed the momentum of the game.
"The first two minutes was pretty rough on me," said Wade, who
recorded the 23rd 20-point effort of his postseason career. "It
was very sore and tight. I told my teammates I wasn't going to
out there too long, but as I started moving around it got
looser and looser. I felt good after that. I didn't know how
effective I would be, but it was good enough that I was able to
help my team pull out a win."
Wade, who finished 9-of-10 from the line, made a pair of free
throws to tie it at 55-55 with 3:39 to play in the third and
drilled a 15-foot jumper 1 1/2 minutes later to give Miami a
The third-year superstar opened the fourth with a stepback
jumper before Gary Payton
and James Posey
each made a basket. On
the next two trips, Wade found O'Neal for a thunderous
alley-oop and knocked down a bank shot for a 71-61 lead with
8:12 on the clock.
"He's always going 110 percent, but he sort of slowed down a
bit," said Posey, who returned from a one-game suspension to
score 12 points and grab eight rebounds. "But he still made
shots and found guys and did what he does. ... He was in a lot
of guys faces saying, 'Let's get it done.'"
The Bulls clawed within 77-73 on two free throws by
with 4:47 left, but Payton answered with a floater and
Wade drilled just his 14th 3-pointer of the season - and first
of the series - to restore a nine-point lead.
The league's fifth-leading scorer during the regular season,
Wade finished with 28 points on 9-of-18 shooting, adding five
assists and five rebounds. He scored 15 of his points after
returning from the injury, which he sustained with 2:35 left in
the first half on a mid-air collision with the 270-pound
"Tonight we felt a little bit of pressure and once Dwyane went
down, it was a shock," Heat coach Pat Riley
said. "We all got
stunned, but we were able to weather the storm not knowing what
was going to happen to him. Strange things happen when you
think things are at their worst."
"Wade came back and he and Shaq did what superstars are supposed
to do. They're supposed to take over the game," Sweetney
added. "They got their team going and their confidence going."
Limited to 26 minutes, O'Neal made 7-of-9 shots from the field
but knocked down just 2-of-12 free throws as Miami connected on
only 22-of-41 as a team.
Chicago was led by 23 points from Andres Nocioni
, who made
6-of-11 shots and also grabbed a team-high 10 boards. However,
the Bulls ultimately were unable to overcome the shooting woes
of Ben Gordon
and Kirk Hinrich
, who combined for only 19 points
on 6-of-29 shooting.
"We felt like we got good looks," said Hinrich, who scored nine
points on 3-of-13 shooting and also committed six of Chicago's
19 turnovers. "I think they definitely made adjustments. They
tried to be a little more aggressive against our pick-and-roll
game. But with all that said, we just didn't do a good enough
Bulls center Tyson Chandler
, who was listed as questionable
after spraining his right ankle late in Game Four, played only
four minutes off the bench in this one. He did not attempt a
field goal while committing five fouls and a turnover.
The first half was not pretty offensively for either team. Miami
entered intermission with a 40-38 lead despite shooting under
37 percent from the field and making only 10-of-20 free throws.
Chicago was not much better, missing all eight of its
3-pointers and shooting a pitiful 34 percent.
"When the time came to make plays, they made a flurry," Bulls
coach Scott Skiles
said. "That coupled with some very poor
decisions that we made (and) in a matter of minutes the game was