CHICAGO (AP) -- The assignment was tough enough for the Chicago
Bulls: cope with Shaquille O'Neal's power, contain versatile Dwyane
Wade and control Eddie Jones' shooting.
Throw in a surprise 23-point effort from veteran reserve
Christian Laettner and the Miami Heat had way too many options for
the Bulls to deal with Friday night.
"Christian Laettner played Duke basketball. I guess we need
Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski in the stands all of the time," O'Neal
said after Miami's 105-81 victory.
With Duke's current basketball team watching from the seats
before playing Valparaiso on Saturday at the United Center,
Laettner, the former Blue Devils star, made 10-of-13 shots.
Laettner had 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Heat pulled
away during a stretch in which O'Neal was on the bench with his
"It was just fun to have some success in the fourth quarter,"
said the 35-year-old Laettner, playing in just his sixth game this
season after being slowed by a sore knee. "I haven't been in that
situation in a while, maybe a year. So it felt good."
Jones added 21 points, and O'Neal had 18 as the Miami Heat moved
the ball around the floor and shot 50.6 percent.
Jones was 7-of-11 and made three 3-pointers for the Heat. Wade
scored 15 points, had 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Kirk Hinrich scored 17 points, but was scoreless in the second
half, and rookie Chris Duhon -- also from Duke -- added a career-high
15 for the Bulls (2-11). Luol Deng, another rookie from Duke, had
12 points for Chicago.
"Laettner was the best `Dookie' out there tonight," Wade said.
"We had great ball movement, we stopped them and got the ball off
the boards and did what our coach was preaching."
When O'Neal went to the bench with his fourth foul at the 3:29
mark of the third quarter, the Heat had a 72-64 lead. Instead of
struggling, they went on a 14-4 run -- including 10 straight -- to
The Heat increased a three-point halftime lead to 10 late in the
third when O'Neal hit a follow and Wesley Person made two jumpers,
one a 3-pointer. Jones' two free throws with under a second left
kept the Heat ahead by 10.
Wade's inside basket and free throw, a 3-pointer by Damon Jones
and Person's jumper started the Heat on a 8-0 spurt at the outset
of the fourth quarter and suddenly it was 86-68.
Laettner, with his sixth team in 13 seasons, scored 10
second-quarter points to spark a 20-8 Heat run that built a
"He has good hands, can drive to the basket and plays solid
defense," Hinrich said of Laettner. "He's been a good player in
this league for a long time. Obviously we were focusing on their
premiere players -- not that he's not a premiere player -- but for
him to put up those numbers really hurt us."
O'Neal had 11 in the opening half, sitting out the final 7:31 of
the first quarter after picking up his second foul.
O'Neal said he considers Chicago's Eddy Curry "one of the
good young centers in the league" and has heard the trade rumors
surrounding the Bulls' often underachieving fourth-year player.
"Everybody is tradable, even a guy who's won three
championships," O'Neal said with a laugh, referring to his own
circumstance. "Just because he's not doing what I'm doing doesn't
mean he's not dedicated. There will never be another me." Curry
hit the first basket of the game on a hook over O'Neal and then
didn't get another basket, adding just a free throw for three
points. He also was limited after being hit in the eye during the
second quarter. ... Chicago native Wade said he had about 50
tickets for the game. ... The Heat had 32 assists and won the
boards 50-39. ... Chicago scored just 31 second-half points and was
0-for-3 from the free-throw line in the last two quarters. It
marked the first time since Jan. 19, 1994, the Bulls didn't make a
free throw in a half.