LeBron James scored 35 points, his 40th career playoff game in which he had more than 30 points, to help lift the Heat to a three-games-to-one lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
“They make you fight for everything and you have to earn everything,” James said in a televised courtside interview. “We needed extra innings for this one, but it was good and we came through.”
With the scores tied at 85, Chicago’s Derrick Rose missed an 18-foot jumper as time expired at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami last night. The Heat then outscored the Bulls 16-8 in overtime to secure their eighth straight postseason home win.
Chris Bosh had 22 points and Dwyane Wade added 14 for the Heat. NBA Most Valuable Player Rose scored 23 for the Bulls, while Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng each had 20 points.
The Bulls turned over the ball three times as James, Bosh and Wade dominated the extra five minutes. It’s the first time this season that the Bulls have lost three straight games.
“Tough loss,” said Joakim Noah, who had six points and 14 rebounds for Chicago. “I give them credit. They battle hard.”
Miami can advance to the NBA Finals with a win at Chicago tomorrow in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series.
The Boston Celtics were the last of three teams to rally to win from a 3-1 deficit in the conference finals.
Boston achieved the feat against the Philadelphia 76ers in 1968 and 1981 before going on to win the NBA title. The Washington Bullets also won from 3-1 down against the San Antonio Spurs in the 1979 Eastern Conference finals.
Miami is in the Eastern Conference finals for the only time since it claimed its sole NBA title in 2006, while Chicago has reached the third round of the postseason for the first time since it won a sixth NBA title 13 years ago.
The series winner will play the Dallas Mavericks or the Oklahoma City Thunder for the NBA title.
The Mavericks, who lost to the Heat in their only visit to the NBA Finals five years ago, lead the Thunder by three games to one and can win the series with a victory at the American Airlines Center in Dallas today.
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