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Bulls Beat the Heat Again

By Benjy Lipsman in News on May 1, 2006 3:07PM

2006_04_sports_bulls_heat_game4.jpgSeven seeds are supposed to pretty much roll over and play dead when facing a second seed, but the Bulls apparently didn't get that memo.

Following up Thursday night's convincing 117-93 win, the Bulls held off the Heat 93-87, tying the series 2-2.

The Bulls jumped out to an early lead, and extended it to double-digits by mid-way through the second quarter. Miami cut the deficit to 4 at the half, saw the Bulls begin to pull away in the third, cut it back to 6 starting the 4th quarter, and played the Bulls tough through the final quarter. The Heat even took an 83-82 lead with less than 3 minutes to play, but the Bulls showed the poise and toughness to pull out the win.

The Bulls offense was led by Andres Nocioni's 24 points , Ben Gordon's 23 and Kirk Hinrich's 21. The Bulls defense held Dwyane Wade to 20 points on 8-23 shooting. In fact, the Bulls backcourt duo of Gordon and Hinrich doubled the output of Miami's duo of Wade and Jason Williams. Shaquille O'Neal had another sub-par game, limited to 16 points and 8 rebounds, as he spent much of the game on the bench with foul trouble.

In fact, fouls were the story of the game. While the Bulls saw their opponents make more free throws than they attempted over the course of the season, the Bulls shot 31 free throws while Miami attempted only 5. No "Hack-a-Shaq" in this game! The difference at the line explains how the Bulls won the game in spite of Miami shooting 21 more field goals.

The one downside to Sunday's victory is the possible loss of Tyson Chandler. In the closing minute of the game, he went down with an ankle injury. Unable to even stand, he was carried off the court by the trainer and Luke Schenscher. Chandler's been giving Shaq problems all series, so losing his presence could ultimately determine the outcome of the series. If Chandler's able to play on Tuesday, do the Bulls actually stand a shot at winning the series?

Image via Yahoo! News