The Miami Heat accomplished their mission on Wednesday night as they took away home-court advantage from the Chicago Bulls winning game two of the Eastern Conference Finals 85-75 at the United Center. The victory knots up the series at 1-1 but even more importantly the Heat won a game in their opponent’s arena. The Bulls were held to an embarrassing shooting percentage of 34.1% (28-82) from the floor for the contest while Miami All-Star forward LeBron James came back from a lackluster performance in the opening game of the series with a double-double including a game high 29 points. Dwyane Wade also had a strong showing as he added 24 points in the victory.
Derrick Rose knocked down 21 points for Chicago for the night but Luol Deng was the only other player on the squad to score in double figures as he chipped in 13 points in the loss. The Heat rebounded from a slow start in the first as they exploded offensively in the following period. The Bulls made a late run but would fall by the side of the road down the stretch.
Miami came out strong at the beginning of the first quarter but their offense would stall about midway through the period. Deng threw up a 50 foot shot at the buzzer that miraculously found the basket and Chicago would hold the advantage at 26-19. The Heat started to chip away at their deficit early in the second and would tie the score at 32-32 as Wade hit a shot three feet from the hoop with 7:05 left to play. With seven seconds remaining in the quarter James drove the lane putting the ball up and in the cylinder. Miami would be on top 48-46 as the game reached the half.
The Heat would pull away from the Bulls at the start of the third but Chicago would soon be back nipping at their heels. Udonis Haslem drained an outside jumper with three seconds on the clock and Miami would hold the lead at the end of the quarter with the score 71-65. Miami’s offense would get stuck in neutral early in the fourth and the Bulls would start off the quarter on an 8-2 run knotting up the score at 73-73. The Heat would respond by closing out the quarter as they out scored their opponents 12-2 down the stretch clinching the victory.
James racked up a double-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and three steals while Wade added 24 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal. Haslem came off the bench with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and 1 steal while Chris Bosh had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists.
Rose scored 21 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds and had 1 steal in the loss for the Bulls. Luol Deng added 13 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. The action now shifts to Miami as the series resumes for game three on Sunday.