Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Chris Bosh went 13-of-18 from the field en route to 34 points, as the Miami Heat pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 96-85 victory over the Chicago Bulls in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
LeBron James added 22 points, 10 assists and six rebounds for the Heat, who built off their 85-75 win on Wednesday to take a 2-1 series lead. Dwyane Wade tallied 17 points and nine boards.
History is now on Miami’s side. Since 2006, when the Heat won their lone title, the winner of Game 3 of the East title series has advanced to the NBA finals every time.
"There is absolutely nothing easy in this series, and it’s still all about enduring, sustaining and finding a way to grind it out," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "And the last couple games we’ve been able to do that at the end."
Carlos Boozer finished with 26 points and 17 rebounds for the Bulls, who lost consecutive games for the first time since February 5-7. Derrick Rose donated 20 points, five boards and five assists.
Game 4 of the series will be Tuesday, also in Miami.
"It’s definitely frustrating. Our will wasn’t there tonight, where they still found a way to win playing good basketball," Rose said. "We just got to find a way to win the next game."
The Heat put together the first real run of the game midway through the third quarter, and it proved to be crucial. With the score tied at 53-53, Mike Bibby made a three-pointer to spark a 7-0 flurry. Miami then forced Luol Deng and Joakim Noah into consecutive offensive fouls. Bosh and Wade followed with jumpers around Keith Bogans’ missed three-pointer to give Miami a 60-53 lead with 3:56 left.
Chicago cut the gap to five, 62-57, but Udonis Haslem made back-to-back jumpers for a 66-57 Heat margin with 1:24 remaining. The Bulls kept the game from slipping away by closing out the period on an 8-2 spurt. Deng bookended the burst with a pair of three-pointers to make it a 68-65 game after three quarters.
Ahead by four, 78-74, with 6 1/2 minutes to play in the game, Miami put the game away with a 9-0 run. After Haslem made a driving layup, Deng turned the ball over. Wade followed with four foul shots prior to another Chicago turnover. Rose turned the ball over this time, and James was fouled on a layup at the other end. James made his foul shot to complete the three-point play for an 87-74 lead with 5:07 left.
The Bulls never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
The game started out as a tight hard-fought battle, with neither team pulling away. Miami ended up with an 18-15 lead after 12 minutes of action.
The Heat tried to create some distance in the second stanza, but Chicago had an answer every time. Miami led by as many as six in the period and took a 43-40 edge into the locker room.
The Bulls used a 9-3 spurt early in the third to grab a 51-50 lead. Wade stopped the bleeding with a free throw to tie things up, and Miami started to take control from there.
The Heat have now won eight straight home postseason games at the American Airlines Arena…Miami shot 50.7 percent from the field, while the Bulls made 41.6 percent of their shots…Haslem had eight points off the bench…Chicago outrebounded Miami by a 41-32 margin.