for this game

Wade finds Marion for game-winner in final second

Feb 13, 2009 - 4:31 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- The Miami Heat needed a second chance Thursday night. After blowing the first one, Dwyane Wade delivered the second.

Wade capped off a bizarre sequence of events with a game-winning assist to Shawn Marion, who cut through an open late to an easy basket with 1.1 seconds remaining to lift the Heat to a 95-93 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

"It's nice to win here," Wade said. "I was glad I could have some effect at the end and help us get the win."

Just moments earlier, it looked like it was going to be the other way around. After Ben Gordon knocked down three free throws to tie the game at 93-93 with six seconds remaining, the Heat had the last possession ... only to give it right back when Kirk Hinrich got the jump on Wade to steal the ensuing inbounds pass.

Wade returned the favor seconds later, intercepting Thabo Sefolosha's inbounds attempt to set up the final play. This time around, Wade got the ball cleanly and delivered it to Marion for the game-winner.

"Yes, it was good. Dwyane got a good read on it," Marion said. "I was going to go over the top but Tyrus Thomas broke away, so I just stepped in and ran to the basket."

Wade finished with 24 points and seven assists to lead the way for the Heat.

"We were fortunate to win," Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "The first time we had a good play set up and Kirk Hinrich made a good play to stop it. The second time, we didn't think we had enough time for Shawn to make that cut, but he got in there and finished it like he knows how."

It was an important win for Miami, which had lost five of its previous seven games - including two lopsided home losses to Dallas and Denver. Now the Heat get to go into the All-Star break on a collective high as they try to solidify their playoff spot.

"The Bulls play very good here and made big runs in the fourth quarter," Marion said. "Tonight we kept our composure down the stretch and got a good win going into the break."

However, this one nearly slipped away from them. Rookie forward Michael Beasley gave them a 14-point edge with consecutive buckets - including one from the arc - late in the third, but the Heat let the Bulls right back in. Andres Nocioni's 3-pointer sparked a 13-2 run bridging the third and fourth quarters as Chicago cut its deficit to 78-75.

"I thought we dug ourselves a hole and played their tempo in the first half," Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We made stops in the fourth quarter and gave ourselves a chance. You can't play one quarter and beat a team like Miami."

Nocioni scored five points in the spurt and Tyrus Thomas added a three-point play. With momentum in their favor, the Bulls switched to a smaller look, going with speed over size with a three-guard lineup of Gordon, rookie Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich.

Miami couldn't match that athleticism, as the Bulls finally pulled ahead thanks to an 8-2 run. Gordon leaned in for a 14-footer, drew contact and completed the three-point play to cut it to one. After Mario Chalmers' miss on the other end, Rose pushed the ball into the paint and finished with a lefthanded layup to give his club an 86-85 edge.

Wade scored on three straight possessions - a pair of drives to the basket and a pull-up, 19-footer - to regain control for the Heat.

"I had to make them. I had struggled early but I made them down the stretch," Wade said. "My teammates expect that of me."

But Chicago surged back, pulling back even when Daequan Cook fouled Gordon on a 3-point attempt from the top of the key. Gordon drilled all three foul shots to set up the game's odd conclusion.

"We had our chances," Gordon said. "We designed a play and couldn't (get) the ball inbounds. That is heartbreaking."

The veteran sharpshooter led all scorers with 34 points on 10-of-21 shooting, while Rose added 18 and six assists for the Bulls.

Beasley chipped in with 21 points and seven boards for Miami.