Supporting cast propels Heat past Bulls
Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Jason Williams tallied a playoff career-high
22 points and Antoine Walker totaled 17 points and 10 rebounds, as Miami
defeated Chicago, 115-108, in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal
James Posey added 12 points and six rebounds while Gary Payton added 11
points, as the Heat took a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-seven series. Game 3
is slated for Thursday at the United Center in Chicago.
Shaquille O’Neal scored 22 points and pulled down seven rebounds and Dwyane
Wade contributed 21 points, seven assists and five boards, yet the duo’s
expected output was overshadowed by the performance of the supporting cast.
“Scott Skiles (Chicago head coach) is telling the world what they are going to
do,” said O’Neal. “We want to be ready, and if they are going to continue to
double me, I’m going to keep picking them apart.”
In more bad news for the Bulls, Miami could be getting back two key frontcourt
players for Game 3. Udonis Haslem sat out Monday’s contest after being
suspended for throwing his mouthpiece at referee Joe Crawford during Game 1.
The Florida product was immediately ejected.
“We missed his effort, his rebounding and his defense,” said Miami head coach
Pat Riley. “We were able to open up the floor a bit more, and I think they
made up for his absence.”
Also, Alonzo Mourning, who has been vigorously rehabbing a torn right calf
muscle, could be ready for Thursday’s tilt in Chicago. Mourning averaged 7.8
points and 5.5 rebounds in 65 games during the regular season.
Andres Nocioni scored a career-high 30 points and Kirk Hinrich added 29, but
the Bulls were again undone by hardly any offensive output from Michael
Sweetney and Tyson Chandler. Sweetney tallied only four points while Chandler
donated three points while battling constant foul trouble.
Luol Deng awoke from his Game 1 slumber to score 14 points while Ben Gordon
added 13 in the loss.
“We had problems with the other players,” said Nocioni. “We need to think
right now. We need to go back to Chicago, and take care of (home) court. We
need to win the next two games.”
Chicago’s last road win in the playoffs was on June 14, 1998 against the Utah
Jazz. It also marked Chicago’s last magic playoff moment, when Michael Jordan
drained a game-winning jumper over Byron Russell in Game 6 of the NBA Finals,
giving Jordan’s Bulls their sixth NBA championship.
The Heat came out scorching, seizing an 8-0 advantage not even two minutes
into the game. O’Neal converted a slam over Chandler then Williams and Posey
drained back-to-back transition treys.
The Bulls settled into the game and went on a 12-4 spurt to square the
contest. Nocioni scored the first five points and Hinrich collected the last
five, including a mid-range jumper to make the score 12-12 in the early going.
Miami ran off eight of the quarter’s final nine points to take a 33-26 edge.
Wade tallied three field goals, including an offensive rebound and putback
over the shorter Chris Duhon. Michael Doleac’s dunk with 17 seconds left
rounded out the scoring.
In a carbon copy of the series opener, the tough-minded Bulls refused to fold.
Chicago scored the first nine points of the second quarter to take the lead.
Deng tallied four of the points and Sweetney connected on a short jumper to
make the score 35-33 with 10:06 to play.
Miami slowly regained control and built a 68-57 lead at the half. Williams led
all scorers with 17 points while Nocioni tallied 12 for the Bulls. Chicago
shot 61.1 percent for the half but committed 12 turnovers.
The Bulls’ defense also failed them, allowing a season-high 66 points in the
The Heat’s marksmanship from long distance continued in the third quarter, as
Posey and Walker buried consecutive threes to open a comfortable 83-67 lead
with 5:20 remaining.
Miami led 95-76 after three stanzas.
Chicago went on a 7-0 burst midway through the fourth quarter in an attempt to
get back in the game. Hinrich notched all seven points, draining a long three
and two mid-range jumpers, with the second basket cutting the deficit to
102-91 with 4:52 remaining.
The Bulls drew even closer, as Hinrich and Gordon converted baskets to make
the score 104-97 with three minutes left.
Nocioni scored seven straight for Chicago, which trimmed the deficit to
108-104 after the forward converted a layup then drained a contested three
with 1:15 left.
Wade produced in the clutch out of a timeout, spinning toward the middle of
the lane and deftly shooting the ball just over the top of the cylinder to
push the edge back to six.
Nocioni turned it over on the other end, ending any hope of a Chicago
The Heat have won four straight Game 2s in the playoffs, while the loss
snapped the Bulls three-game winning streak in Game 2s…Both teams shot over
50 percent from the floor…The Bulls committed 19 turnovers…Miami scored 54
points in the paint to Chicago’s 30…Wade played with a sore calf but the
injury didn’t not appear to bother him throughout the contest.