Bulls
Heat
104 - 96 Final
  for this game

Gordon, Deng help Bulls push Heat to brink

Apr 28, 2007 - 5:28 AM MIAMI (Ticker) -- Ben Gordon and the Chicago Bulls have pushed the defending champions to the brink of elimination.

Gordon scored 27 points and Luol Deng added 24 and 11 rebounds as the Bulls posted a 104-96 victory over the Miami Heat, who are one loss away from being swept out of the playoffs.

Kirk Hinrich had 22 points and six assists and Ben Wallace added 11 and eight rebounds for Chicago, which grabbed a commanding 3-0 lead over Miami in their first-round series.

"I think we are outworking them right now," Wallace said. "I think we are playing a little bit harder than they are and I think we want it a little bit more than they want it."

Miami, which missed 19 of its 35 free throws, is looking at a near-certain series loss. In the 78 previous times in playoff history a team has trailed 3-0, that club has never rallied to win the series.

"Obviously, we have dug a deep hole for ourselves," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "Maybe this year is the ultimate, ultimate test. We have to look at it that way."

The Heat are one game away from becoming the first defending champion to be removed in the first round since the 2000 San Antonio Spurs were knocked out in four games by the Phoenix Suns. Current Chicago coach Scott Skiles guided Phoenix at the time.

"Tonight was only one win, and we have to win four instead of three," Skiles said. "But in a game where we weren't playing well and things weren't going our way, we were able to overcome it."

Game Four is here Sunday.

"This is going to be a test of everyone's will and pride now," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. "We have to play with the heart of a champion from here out."

Trailing, 79-72, with 27 seconds gone in the fourth quarter, the Bulls went on a 10-0 run to take a three-point lead with 8:06 left. Gordon scored six points and Deng added an 18-foot jumper from the left angle to cap the spurt.

"The first half definitely felt like it wasn't going to be my night," Gordon said. "I just tried to keep my composure and I knew that my team would need me in the second half."

The Bulls built a nine-point advantage with 3:10 remaining on a pair of free throws by Hinrich before the Heat staged a rally of their own. Miami reduced the deficit to three when Wade nailed a 16-footer from the left corner, making it 99-96 with 1:24 left.

However, the Bulls scored the final five points on free throws by Hinrich and Deng and took their first 3-0 lead in a seven-game series since going up three games to none against the Seattle SuperSonics in the 1996 NBA Finals.

"To come here and beat the champs on the road says a lot about how we are maturing as a team," Deng said. "We were up 2-0, but we knew we couldn't come here and relax because of how good the Heat are. Now that we are up by three games, we still have to bring it."

In a hard-fought battle that saw large runs by both teams, the Bulls withstood charges from the Heat in the middle of the contest.

In the first period, Chicago shot out to a quick lead on the strength of Deng, who entered the game tied for the second-highest scoring average (29.5) in these playoffs behind Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant (33.0).

Deng scored 11 points in the quarter and Hinrich added eight for the Bulls, who shot 12-of-20 from the field and led, 29-23, after 12 minutes. Their largest lead in the quarter was 27-18 despite the extended absence of Gordon, who incurred two early fouls.

"It was really frustrating," Gordon said of the early foul trouble. "I picked up two quick ones, so I had to sit most of the first half. I just watched how the Heat were playing our guys in the game and tried to relax."

However, Shaquille O'Neal and reserve Antoine Walker struck back quickly to get the Heat in the game. Miami started the second quarter with a 14-2 run to take a 37-31 lead with 7:11 left. Walker scored five of the points and O'Neal four, including a layup to cap the burst.

Chicago went cold from the floor in the period, connecting on just 6-of-21 shots to enter the break with a 52-45 deficit. Deng scored just two points in the period.

In the third quarter, Wade stepped to the forefront. The MVP of the 2006 Finals scored 10 points to help Miami to a 76-72 lead entering the final period.

Wade finished with 28 points and nine rebounds and O'Neal added 23 and 13 for the Heat, who shot 46 percent (37-of-81) compared to the Bulls' 49 percent (35-of-71).

"Our backs are against the wall, but we can't stop now," O'Neal said. "It's very important that we play better in all areas. There are so many things we didn't do well, especially free throws and turnovers."








  • PLAYOFFS
    NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CHICAGO 29 16 27 32 104
    MIAMI 23 29 24 20 96 FINAL

    HIGH SCORERS: CHI - BEN GORDON 27, LUOL DENG 24, KIRK
    HINRICH 22
    MIA - DWYANE WADE 28, SHAQUILLE O'NEAL 23,
    ANTOINE WALKER 12

    Apr 27 10:51 PM
  • 45
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 40 roots

    Bulls vs. HeatApr 27 10:45 PM
  • mark this is amazing. i thought this game was long over.

    Bulls vs. HeatApr 27 10:10 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NBA PLAYOFFS
    CHICAGO 72
    MIAMI 76 END, 3RD QTR

    Apr 27 10:02 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NBA PLAYOFFS
    CHICAGO 45
    MIAMI 52 HALFTIME

    Apr 27 9:11 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NBA PLAYOFFS
    CHICAGO 29
    MIAMI 23 END, 1ST QTR

    Apr 27 8:34 PM
  • 5
    roots
    mark Added 5 roots

    Bulls vs. HeatApr 27 3:54 PM