Miami wins series 4-2 (Game 3 of 6)

Miami wins series 4-2

Game 1: Saturday, April 22nd
Game 2: Monday, April 24th
Game 3: Thursday, April 27th
Game 4: Sunday, April 30th
Game 5: Tuesday, May 2nd
Game 6: Thursday, May 4th

Heat 90

(52-30, 21-20 away)

Bulls 109

(41-41, 21-20 home)

Coverage: CSNC

7:00 PM ET, April 27, 2006

United Center, Chicago, IL

1 2 3 4 T
MIA 23 19 29 1990
CHI 31 17 39 22109

Top Performers

Miami: D. Wade 26 Pts, 4 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk

Chicago: K. Hinrich 22 Pts, 2 Reb, 11 Ast, 3 Stl

Shaq held to 8 points as Bulls cut series lead to 2-1

CHICAGO (AP) -- Instead of looking like his old self, Shaquille O'Neal simply looked old, flustered and frustrated.

O'Neal had one of his worst playoff performances, and the Chicago Bulls took advantage, beating the Miami Heat 109-90 on Thursday night in a game that got heated in the end.

The Bulls pulled within 2-1 in the first-round series and host Game 4 on Sunday.

"I guess we were just out of it today," O'Neal said.

He finished with eight points and four rebounds. He had one basket through the first three quarters and scored six meaningless points in the fourth, narrowly missing his career playoff low. O'Neal had seven points against Houston on April 19, 2004.

After averaging 24.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in the first two games, O'Neal picked up his third foul just over three minutes into the second quarter and spent the rest of the half on the bench.

Miami's James Posey was ejected with 3:15 left after knocking down Kirk Hinrich on a fast break and receiving a flagrant foul two. Six seconds later, Antoine Walker fouled out and got called for a technical foul. So did Udonis Haslem, who served a one-game suspension for throwing his mouthpiece toward an official in the series opener.

The Bulls went 3-of-4 from the free throw line during the commotion, but the game was already out of reach.

"He thought we had an advantage and wanted to make a hard foul," Hinrich said. "It's just part of the game. Just got to take it."

Posey said he did not foul Hinrich out of frustration. He was simply trying to get back on defense, and Hinrich did not see him.

"He didn't see me, first of all," said Posey, who faces a fine and possible suspension. "So anything like that -- a guy coming from the side -- a collision will happen like that. That's all it was."

Miami coach Pat Riley did not rush to his players' defense afterward.

"Maybe something happened at the other end, but I don't like that," he said of Posey's foul. "There's got to be some dignity in the game. The game was a very physical game. Both teams were playing hard."

And Riley said this about the commotion: "When you're getting your (butt) kicked, you take it. You get on to Game 4; that's what it's about. They were very good, and they were kicking our (butt). And we began to look at the officials. That's something we don't want to do."

Chicago's Ben Gordon scored 24 points after being held to 13 in Game 2 on Monday, and Hinrich finished with 22 points and 11 assists. Luol Deng scored 21, and Andres Nocioni contributed 19 points and nine rebounds.

After a 3-pointer by Walker cut the Bulls' lead to 59-56 with 7:25 left in the third quarter, Hinrich and Gordon responded with back-to-back 3s and the Heat never threatened after that.

Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 26 points and Jason Williams added 17.

Riley was on the sideline after attending his mother's funeral in upstate New York on Wednesday. Mary Riley was 96 when she died last week.

"It's not easy," Riley said. "It's something you don't want anybody to go through. You deal with life, and in this situation, you deal with the other side of it. It takes a toll."

After being outscored by a 52-30 average in the paint the first two games, things certainly did not look better for the Bulls with Alonzo Mourning returning from a torn right calf. In his first game since March 22, Mourning grabbed two rebounds and did not score in eight minutes.

With O'Neal a non-factor, the Bulls outscored the Heat 40-32 in the paint after being dominated there in the first two games. They also established themselves early on for the first time this series, building a 48-42 halftime lead, after being outscored a combined 131-108 in the first half of Games 1 and 2.

"It took us out of our offense because I didn't play that much," said O'Neal, who committed five fouls.

Riley said the Bulls did a "much better job of leveraging" the big man and added, "I still think it's a sumo wrestling match down inside."

The Heat were 30-for-72 from the field, after hitting half their shots in the first two games. On defense, they could not stop the penetration -- with and without Shaq.

And in the end, the tempers flared. Mourning thought his teammates were too concerned about the referees' calls -- and non-calls.

"We can't look at them," Mourning said. "We've got to go out there and do it ourselves. We're foolish if we're trying to look at the referees."

What about the offense?

"We've got to stop worrying about the offense, too," Mourning said. "Our biggest concern should be our defense."

Game notes

The Bulls won the three previous playoff series against the Heat. ... The Heat ranked third and the Bulls fifth on the NBA's list of most popular team merchandise. Results are based on sales at the NBA Store in New York and at ... Bulls F Malik Allen started after missing practice Tuesday and Wednesday with back spasms. ... Michael Jordan received a standing ovation in the fourth quarter when the scoreboard video showed him in a luxury box.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 90 109
FGM-FGA 30-72 (.417) 36-78 (.462)
3PM-3PA 9-22 (.409) 5-16 (.313)
FTM-FTA 21-33 (.636) 32-46 (.696)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-41 9-42
Assists 16 23
Turnovers 19 11
Steals 4 7
Blocks 1 3
Fast Break Points 4 19
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 31 (2/1) 27 (0/0)
Largest Lead 2 21

Top Performers

Dwyane Wade Wade
Points: 26
Reb: 4
Ast: 4
Stl: 0
Blk: 1
Kirk Hinrich Hinrich
Points: 22
Reb: 2
Ast: 11
Stl: 3
Blk: 0