Sunday , Apr , 16 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Deng celebrates birthday by leading Bulls back to playoffs

Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Luol Deng celebrated his 21st birthday in style
with a game-high 26 points, as the Chicago Bulls clinched a spot in the
playoffs with a 117-93 victory over the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena.

Deng had 17 of those points in the first half, as the Bulls rallied from a 15-
point deficit to win their fourth consecutive game. It was also their first
victory at Miami since January 18, 2000, ending an 11-game road skid versus
the Heat.

Ben Gordon and Andres Nocioni each added 18 points, while Kirk Hinrich
finished with 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds for the Bulls, winners
in eight of their last nine games.

Because the Bulls won, Orlando was officially eliminated from postseason
contention. If Washington beats Cleveland tonight, the Wizards will secure the
last playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, and eliminate the Philadelphia

Antoine Walker had 22 points for the Heat, who are locked in the second seed
in the Eastern Conference. Shaquille O’Neal added 14 points, but Dwyane Wade
struggled with just eight points on 2-of-12 shooting. Wade had his franchise-
record streak of 78 straight games of double figures snapped, as the Heat had
a two-game win streak broken.