Miami wins series 4-1 (Game 2 of 5)

Miami wins series 4-1

Game 1: Sunday, May 15th
Game 2: Wednesday, May 18th
Game 3: Sunday, May 22nd
Game 4: Tuesday, May 24th
Game 5: Thursday, May 26th

Heat 85

(58-24, 28-13 away)

Bulls 75

(62-20, 36-5 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    8:30 PM ET, May 18, 2011

    United Center, Chicago, IL

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIA 19 29 23 1485
    CHI 26 20 19 1075

    Top Performers

    Mia: L. James 29 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl

    Chi: D. Rose 21 Pts, 6 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

    LeBron James clutch as Heat even Eastern finals with Bulls at 1

    Associated Press

    CHICAGO -- Back to his usual havoc-wreaking ways, LeBron James took control when it counted and the Miami Heat sent out a loud message in the process.

    They're ready for a "street fight," if that's the route to the NBA finals.

    James came up big down the stretch to finish with 29 points, Dwyane Wade scored 24 and Miami beat the Chicago Bulls 85-75 Wednesday night to tie the Eastern Conference finals at one game apiece.

    The Heat can breathe a little easier after escaping with a win and stealing home-court advantage. Coming off a lopsided loss in Game 1, they recovered down the stretch after blowing an 11-point lead to pull even in the series, with Game 3 in Miami on Sunday.

    "The series has just started," James said. "It's 1-1. We're excited that we were able to come here and get a win. But it's just started."

    James shook off a brutal opener and scored nine points over the final 4:27, starting with a 3-pointer that put Miami ahead for good, 76-73. He also had 10 rebounds despite a head cold, and Miami outrebounded the Bulls 45-41 after getting pounded 45-33 on the glass in the opener.

    "That fourth quarter is going to epitomize this entire series," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after his team outscored Chicago 14-10 in the period. "It's an absolute street fight for both teams."

    For James, it was big turnaround after he managed just 15 points on 5-for-15 shooting while being harassed by Luol Deng in Game 1.

    Wade also looked more like a superstar after scoring 18 on Sunday and chipped in with nine rebounds.

    Udonis Haslem, whom Spoelstra called "an absolute championship warrior," provided a spark off the bench with 13 points, and the Heat beat the Bulls for the first time this season even though Chris Bosh scored just 10 after pouring in 30 in the opener.

    "We got that one that we needed," Wade said. "Now, we go home and we've got to take care of business. This team right here is like us. They can win at home and on the road."

    Derrick Rose led Chicago with 21 points but scored just two in the fourth quarter. Deng, the only other Bulls player in double figures, added 13 but had just four after the opening period.

    Joakim Noah had nine points but only eight rebounds. Taj Gibson provided a spark in the fourth quarter, scoring all of his eight points. Carlos Boozer, however, was a non-factor with seven points and eight rebounds and sat out the final 16:21.

    The Bulls missed countless layups and got outshot 47.1 percent to 34.1 percent. They were just 3 of 20 on 3-pointers and 16 of 26 at the foul line while getting beat on the glass.

    They had no answer for James down the stretch, either, and came up short when it looked like they might find a way to pull this one out.

    "We played a low-energy offense, a low-energy defense and the result was not good," coach Tom Thibodeau said.

    Rose put it this way: "We can't afford to go out and play like this. We let them get easy baskets, especially in transition."

    The Heat led by 11 late in the third, only to see the Bulls pull even in the fourth, with Gibson providing a big spark.

    He cut it to 71-69 early in the fourth with back-to-back jumpers for his first points of the game, pumping both arms after the second shot went in.

    Then, he tied it at 73 with 7:16 left after Haslem lost the ball out of bounds, drawing more roars from the crowd, but the teams traded misses for about three minutes before James put Miami ahead with a 3. Then, he scored again with 3:15 left to make it 78-73.

    Gibson delivered a slam over three defenders and got fouled by Wade, the same guy he delivered a poster-worthy dunk on in Game 1, to make it a three-point game with 2:29 left, but missed the free throw.

    James then put back his own miss and nailed a 20-footer to make it 84-75 with 47 seconds left.

    The Heat looked like they were ready to pull away in the third, going on a 10-0 run after Rose hit two free throws to cut it to 57-56 with 5:14 left.

    Haslem blocked Deng and dunked on Keith Bogans for a three-point play to start the run.

    James then stole a pass from Noah and broke the other way for a three-point play, then picked off another by Deng, leading to a layup for Wade. Haslem, who hadn't been playing much, threw down another vicious fast-break dunk on Rose to finish the run, crashing to the court as the lead reached 11, but the Bulls answered with six straight to stay in it.

    "I talked to him two days ago, and there was a look in his eye," Spoelstra said, referring to Haslem. "I've been through a lot of battles with that warrior, and I knew it was time to put him in."

    Haslem continued to reiterate he was ready but understood he needed to be patient. When the opportunity came, he wasn't looking to score.

    "I was seeing guys running to the basket without anyone putting a body on them," he said. "My focus wasn't on scoring tonight, it was defense and rebounding."

    Game notes

    Sporting various piercings and tattoos, incoming Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman presented the game ball to a loud ovation before the opening tip. ... The Heat stuck with their Game 1 lineup and held out Erick Dampier, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Dexter Pittman again. ... The Bears' Julius Peppers got a loud ovation and waved to the crowd when he was shown during a first-quarter timeout. ... The Bulls missed their first nine field goals before Bogans nailed a 3 and scored on a fast-break layup. ... Deng sent the crowd into a frenzy when he swished a 41-foot heave at the end of the first quarter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 85 75
    FGM-FGA 32-68 (.471) 28-82 (.341)
    3PM-3PA 3-13 (.231) 3-20 (.150)
    FTM-FTA 18-24 (.750) 16-26 (.615)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-45 17-41
    Assists 18 15
    Turnovers 15 10
    Steals 7 6
    Blocks 6 7
    Fast Break Points 13 13
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (0/0) 25 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 11 7

    Top Performers

    LeBron James James
    Points: 29
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Derrick Rose Rose
    Points: 21
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0

    Research Notes

    NEXT LEVEL: In the 2011 playoffs LeBron James is shooting 40.3 percent and averaging 0.94 points per play in isolation, but his production has increased substantially on those plays in the fourth quarter. James is shooting under 35 percent on isolation plays in the first three quarters in the postseason, but has been much more effective in the final period, especially from three-point range. He has also improved in isolation late in games from the previous two postseasons. James shot just 35.2 percent from the field and made 2 of 9 three point field goals on isolation plays in the fourth quarter in the 2009 and 2010 playoffs with the Cavaliers.
    Udonis Haslem's impact in Game 2 cannot be understated, especially in his role on the glass. In the 25 minutes Haslem was off the floor, the Bulls grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and claimed over 40 percent of the rebounds off it's own misses. With Haslem on the floor, the Bulls grabbed just 2 offensive rebounds which led to just 4 2nd-chance pts.
    After struggling from the field and combining for a playoff low 33 points in Game 1, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James rebounded by combining for 53 points on over 54 percent shooting. The two got to the line 17 times and pulled down 19 boards.
    While Derrick Rose has been excellent in series-openers, Game 2 has not been as nice. Rose averages 8 points fewer in Game 2 and in five career games has shot just 39 percent from the field, including a 7 for 23 performance on Wednesday.
    Through 3 quarters, the Bulls dominated the offensive glass but struggled to capitalize, scoring just 16 points as they went 4-13 on 2nd-chance opportunities. That came back to haunt them in the 4th, as the Heat kept Chicago off the glass, holding the Bulls to just 2 2nd-chance pts on a single offensive rebound.
    The Bulls really struggled offensively in Game 2 on Wednesday. Derrick Rose couldn't find his shooting rhythm, and when he created shots for his teammates, they too struggled to convert chances into points. Starting frontcourt Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng had a hard time converting Rose's passes, as the two forwards combined to shoot 2 of 9 (four points) off passes by Rose, and sharpshooter Kyle Korver missed all four of his chances created by the league MVP.
    The Heat had two transition plays in the first half Wednesday night, scoring two points on 1-of-2 shooting. In the second half, the Heat ran more, scoring 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
    Chris Bosh's role in the Heat's offense took a hit in Game 2. After scoring 30 points and getting an offensive touch on 51.4 percent of the possessions when he was on the floor in Game 1, Bosh scored 10 points and received a touch on 27.5 percent of the possessions he was on the court for in Game 2. Note: A touch is credited on any offensive play where a player handles the ball. For offensive rebounds, players are credited with a touch only if they attempt a shot or receive the ball again on a pass.
    The Bulls made 15-of-33 shots (45.5 pct) inside five feet in Game 2 against the Heat, well below their season average of 58.9 percent entering Wednesday night. Derrick Rose (2 of 10), Carlos Boozer (3 of 8) and Joakim Noah (2 of 6) were three big reasons the Bulls were outscored 50-34 in the paint.
    Since the shot-clock was invoked in the 1954-55 season, there have been four instances in which teams combined to score 24 points or fewer in the fourth quarter of a playoff game.

    The Bulls had their lowest output of the playoffs in Game 2 on Wednesday, scoring just 75 points in their loss to the Heat. Chicago also saw its offensive numbers drop sharply from its Game 1 win Sunday.


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