Saturday , Mar , 18 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Heat stay hot with win over Bulls

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Dwyane Wade led five Heat players in
double figures with 15 points, as Miami held off the Chicago Bulls to record
an 85-84 win at the United Center.

Shaquille O’Neal and Antoine Walker each added 13 points for the Heat,
who have won four straight and 14 of 15. Jason Williams and Gary Payton
each finished with 12 points.

“It was a weird game. There was ugly shooting and a lot of turnovers and
mistakes and we were just fortunate to get the win. I should have done better
but it was just a very ugly and weird game,” O’Neal said.

Luol Deng paced the Bulls with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Kirk
Hinrich contributed 15 points and seven assists for Chicago, which has
lost four of six.

“I thought we played very tough, pretty much all the way through to the
end. I thought we did a way above average job on Shaq and Dwyane,” said
Bulls head coach Scott Skiles. “We did a good job of collapsing in there and
try to make their guys take difficult shots.”

It was a tight game from start to finish with neither team leading by
more then seven points.

The Heat opened up the fourth stanza by netting eight of the first 11
points, capped by a Walker three-pointer, to assume a 77-71 lead with 8:09

The Bulls, however, responded with a 10-0 spurt to take an 81-77 edge
with 4:58 remaining. Hinrich began and ended the run with a three-pointer.
Chicago maintained the lead until a James Posey jumper put the Heat back
on top, 84-83, with just under three minutes left.

A Mike Sweetney free throw temporarily tied the game with 2:46 left,
but Payton later hit 1-of-2 from the line to put the Heat up 85-84 with
2:17 remaining.

Neither team hit another basket the rest of the way, although Chicago had
its chances to take a lead. With under one minute remaining, Sweetney
missed a hook-shot attempt that would have put the Bulls ahead.

Then, after Posey missed at the other end, Sweetney took the ball at the
top of the key and drove towards the hoop. However, he chose to pass the
ball out to Deng in the left corner rather then put up a shot. Deng was
wide open and had a good look at a game-winning shot as time expired, but
his attempt hit off the rim and out.

Miami built up a seven-point edge midway through the first at 17-10 and
held the lead until the Bulls closed it to 28-24 by the end first.
Neither team created distance in the second and the Heat carried a slim
48-47 edge into halftime.

It was much of the same in the third. Miami held a 56-51 lead until the
Bulls fought back to take a 57-56 advantage with five minutes left in the
frame. The Heat later regained the lead at 67-65 on two Payton free
throws with 1:14 remaining and Miami was ahead 69-68 heading into the fourth.

Game Notes

Williams also had five rebounds and five assists…Wade had 10
turnovers…O’Neal finished with five boards…Malik Allen netted 12 points
for the Bulls, while Andres Nocioni added 14 points and 12 boards off the
bench…The teams exchanged leads seven times in the game.