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Deng's late free throws give Bulls win over struggling Heat

Mar 6, 2011 - 11:46 PM Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Miami's struggles in close games and against the top teams in the league continued when LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both missed potential game-winning shots in the final six seconds to help Chicago escape with an 87-86 win at American Airlines Arena.

Luol Deng hit three free throws to turn a two-point deficit into a one-point lead with 15.9 ticks remaining and finished with 18 points for the Bulls, who won all three meetings between the teams this season.

"This means that we play well against them," Deng said about the significance of the win. "They're right behind us in the standings and it was a big game. We've been doing a good job of just focusing on playing one game at a time."

Derrick Rose ended with 27 points and five assists while Carlos Boozer added 12 points and 10 boards for the visitors, who have won two in a row and five out of six overall.

James finished with 26 points, eight caroms and six assists, Chris Bosh netted 23 points and Wade supplied 20 points, five assists and four rebounds but could not prevent the Heat's fourth straight loss.

Miami, which opened a six-game homestand, is 1-9 against the league's top five teams, including two losses to the Bulls as well as defeats to San Antonio and Boston over the last three weeks.

"There is nothing else we can do other than stay together and stay with this," Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We need to have a stubbornness to keep on getting into these situations, and then have the resiliency to finally break through. We did enough things to give ourselves a chance to win but not enough. One of these days we will break through."

Deng's left wing jumper put the Bulls ahead 67-65, their first lead since near the midpoint of the first quarter, with 10 1/2 minutes left in the game.

Rose then took control and again made a loud statement about his worthiness for league MVP honors with a twisting, driving layup, two free throws and a fallaway jumper to give Chicago an 82-76 edge with 3 1/2 minutes to play.

Miami trailed by five but managed to get the game tied at 84 with 65 ticks left on a James jumper and, after some slick ball movement, a Mario Chalmers triple.

Kyle Korver missed a three-point shot on the ensuing Chicago possession and the Heat were able to regain the lead on Chalmers' driving layup with 25.8 seconds to go.

Deng hit 1-of-2 at the line and was fouled again in pursuit of the rebound and canned a pair to put the Bulls ahead 87-86.

Miami then called timeout to set up for the winning shot. James missed a driving left-hand layup with 5.6 ticks to go before Wade corralled the rebound on the right baseline and could not connect on a turnaround jumper.

"If we come in with the right game plan, play hard and give it our all and lose, I can be satisfied with that," James said of the defeat. "I can't be satisfied if we come into a game and we're not mentally prepared and we lose. At the end of the day, they made one more shot than we did."

James scored eight as the Heat took a 22-18 lead after the first quarter.

Miami quickly stretched the advantage to 10 before Rose's runner got the Bulls within 40-37 with 2:49 left in the half.

The Heat ran off the next nine points to reassert control and took a 49-40 lead into the intermission. Led by 17 from James and 15 from Bosh, the "Big Three" totaled 41 points in the first 24 minutes.

The Heat quickly increased their lead to 11 to begin the third quarter before Rose's driving layup between two defenders finished a 10-3 spurt to trim the margin to 54-50.

Again, the hosts pushed back and pushed their lead to eight only to see the Bulls move within 62-61 on a Boozer layup with 1:48 left. Miami then took a 65-63 lead into the final stanza.

Game Notes

Rose made 12-of-23 shots...Joakim Noah chipped in with 11 points and eight boards for Chicago, which knocked down only 3-of-14 from beyond the arc. James hit 10-of-18 from the floor while Bosh connected on 9-of-14...Wade struggled to an 8-of-19 shooting day...Mike Miller missed all five shots he attempted for Miami, including four from long distance...Chalmers finished with 11 points and five assists.