Heat rallies, eliminates Bulls in NBA playoffs

Heat guard Dwyane Wade, playing well on an aching right knee, reacts after dunking during the second half.

MCT

Heat guard Dwyane Wade, playing well on an aching right knee, reacts after dunking during the second half.

MIAMI — Knowing his team needed him at his best, Dwyane Wade retreated to the Heat locker room after the third quarter for some quick treatment on his aching right knee.

When the All-Star guard came back, he was good as new.

And now he can rest until the Eastern Conference finals.

LeBron James scored 23, Wade added 18 and had a strong 45-second sequence that proved crucial, and Miami clawed back from an 11-point second-half deficit to beat the Bulls 94-91 Wednesday night and close out their second-round series in five games. The Heat outscored Chicago 25-14 in the fourth quarter.

"I knew the fourth quarter was going to be tough so I wanted to retape my knee," said Wade, who has battled bone bruises for several weeks. "I knew I was going to come back into a grind."

Wade had a blocked shot, defensive rebound, offensive rebound and putback slam — all in a late 45-second span — to help cap a wild night of wild comebacks. The Heat blew an early 18-point lead, then pulled off a late rally to finish off the depleted Bulls, who had Nate Robinson and Jimmy Butler missed 3-pointers at the end.

"Dwyane is uncanny," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "When the competition is at its highest, and its fiercest, he finds a way."

"I had a good couple of minutes," Wade said.

Carlos Boozer had 26 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls.

"It's always about winning and losing," Chicago forward Joakim Noah said. "But I'm really proud of the character of this team."

"This," James said, "was one of the toughest close-out games I've had. Emotionally, this game took a lot out of both teams."

Miami opens the East final at home next week. If Indiana eliminates the Knicks tonight, the Heat and Pacers open in Miami on Monday night. If the Knicks win tonight, the East final opens Wednesday night, regardless of opponent.

The Knicks went 3-1 against the Heat, and the Pacers were 2-1.

Knicks-Pacers: The Knicks, home tonight against the Pacers and in a 3-1 hole, are fighting for survival for the first time this season. It is something coach Mike Woodson is anxious to see.

"Very curious," Woodson said. "Our backs are against the wall. And we haven't had our backs against the wall very much this season, so we're being tested right now. I feel good."

After Tuesday's loss in Indiana, a message was written on the white board: "Stay the course. Win one. Change everything."

Guard, J.R. Smith took the blame — he has shot 28.6 percent since he threw an elbow and was suspended in Game 3 of the opening round against the Celtics. But Woodson would hear none of it.

"I'm the head coach. Blame it on me,'' he said. "Our backs are against the wall and my job is to get us out of this hole."

The Knicks went big in Game 4, benching Pablo Prigioni and starting Kenyon Martin, and were still crushed on the boards. Woodson hinted that the lineup would revert to normal tonight.

Spurs-Warriors: If the Spurs want to close out the Warriors in Game 6 tonight at rowdy Oracle Arena, they'll have to do what neither team has in this series: win consecutive games. Golden State also is 4-0 after a loss in the playoffs. The odds are in San Antonio's favor. The Spurs have won 11 of 12 best-of-seven series when leading 3-2. The last time the Warriors came back from a 3-2 deficit was against the Bulls in the 1975 West finals.

Kings staying put: NBA owners voted to reject the Kings' proposed move to Seattle. The 22-8 vote by the Board of Governors rejected a deal that would have sold a 65 percent controlling interest at a total franchise valuation of $625 million to a Seattle group led by investor Chris Hansen, who boosted the offer twice. Hansen hoped to move the franchise to Seattle and rename it the SuperSonics. The original Sonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008, renamed the Thunder. Now the owners, the Maloofs, will try to complete a deal at $525 million — still topping the NBA record of $450 million — with a group put together by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and fronted by TIBCO software chairman Vivek Ranadive. The decision set off anger and frustration on social media from fans in Seattle. NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silve indicated future expansion was discussed: "We fully expect we will return there one day."

Gatling trial set: A trial date of Aug. 8 was set for former All-Star Chris Gatling, who is accused of squatting in a Paradise Valley home in Phoenix then trying to list the place for rent. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office said Gatling, 45, pleaded not guilty to two counts of theft and forgery, one count of taking the identity of another and one count of fraud. He was accused of breaking into a key box and living in the home for nearly a year. His attorney called it a misunderstanding.

Heat 94, Bulls 91

CHICAGO (91): Butler 7-15 3-3 19, Boozer 10-19 6-11 26, Noah 1-5 1-2 3, Robinson 6-15 5-6 21, Belinelli 1-3 0-0 3, Hamilton 6-12 2-2 15, Gibson 1-4 0-0 2, Mohammed 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 33-75 17-24 91.

MIAMI (94): James 5-14 12-15 23, Haslem 5-6 0-0 10, Bosh 4-8 2-4 12, Chalmers 3-9 0-0 6, Wade 7-13 4-4 18, Battier 2-7 3-5 9, Allen 2-6 0-1 5, Andersen 2-2 2-2 6, Cole 2-5 1-2 5. Totals 32-70 24-33 94.

Chicago 21 32 24 14— 91

Miami 30 17 22 25— 94

3-Point GoalsChicago 8-19 (Robinson 4-7, Butler 2-6, Belinelli 1-2, Hamilton 1-4), Miami 6-21 (Bosh 2-3, Battier 2-7, James 1-3, Allen 1-4, Cole 0-1, Chalmers 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsChicago 49 (Boozer 14), Miami 47 (Bosh, James 7). AssistsChicago 14 (Robinson 6), Miami 20 (James 8). Total FoulsChicago 21, Miami 24. TechnicalsBoozer, Noah, Chicago defensive three second. A20,025 (19,600).

Heat rallies, eliminates Bulls in NBA playoffs 05/15/13 [Last modified: Thursday, May 16, 2013 12:58am]

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