Bulls 107, Heat 89
Tuesday, April 24th 2007, 10:12 pm
By: News On 6
CHICAGO (AP) _ The Miami Heat climbed out of their last 2-0 playoff deficit. They'll need more from Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade to perform similar magic this time.
Ben Gordon scored 27 points and Luol Deng added 26 to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 107-89 victory Tuesday night and a 2-0 lead over the defending champions in this first-round series.
Gordon scored 11 in the third quarter, hitting three 3-pointers, as the Bulls built a 17-point lead. Deng scored 14 in the fourth as Chicago sent Miami halfway to elimination.
O'Neal and Wade had subpar performances again after struggling through foul trouble in the opener, finishing with 17 and 21 points, respectively. O'Neal was just 6-for-14 from the floor with eight rebounds. And Wade, who led a late charge in Game 1, never really got going, hitting 9-of-19.
Trailing 85-71 through three quarters, the Heat were within seven after Wade's layup early in the fourth, but they had no answer for Deng. Quiet in the first half after scoring 33 in the opener, Deng scored the Bulls' first eight points in the fourth before Thabo Sefolosha hit a jumper that made it 95-82 midway through the quarter.
The best-of-seven series shifts to Miami for two games, with Game 3 Friday night.
Home teams that have taken the first two games in a best-of-seven series have gone on to advance 95 percent of the time, but the Heat and Bulls have bucked that trend in recent seasons.
Miami dropped the first two games at Dallas in last year's finals, then won four straight to capture the championship. Two years ago, the Bulls opened with two wins at home over Washington but lost in their first playoff appearance since the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen era.
As they did in Game 1, the Bulls beat the Heat with quick passes that led to open looks, and as a result, hit 43 of 78 shots.
Gordon and Deng had help.
Kirk Hinrich chipped in 14 points, after scoring two and committing five fouls in the opener.
Hinrich, who was fined $25,000 by the league for tossing his mouthpiece in Game 1, was composed and on target this time.
He and P.J. Brown (10 points) scored two quick baskets to start the second half, extending the Bulls' lead to 59-52 and sending Miami into a 20-second timeout. Hinrich hit a 3 that made it 66-55 with 8:46 left in the third. The Heat called time again, but Chicago didn't stop.
It was 71-55 just more than a minute later, after Brown hit a jumper and Gordon brought the crowd to its feet with a 3. The lead reached 17 when Gordon hit another 3 with 5:45 left.
After having his way early in the opener _ before fouling out and lashing out at referee Eddie F. Rush _ O'Neal had a quiet night. He scored Miami's first seven points but was just 2-of-5 in the first quarter.
Andres Nocioni (10 points) gave the Bulls a spark in the closing seconds of the period, converting a four-point play and another 3-pointer that increased Chicago's lead to 31-21.