BULLS ON BRINK AS MIAMI OUTLAST IN OT

LeBron James scored 35 points and Chris Bosh added 22 as the Miami Heat defeated the Chicago Bulls 101-93 in overtime to move to the verge of a place in the NBA Finals.

The victory gives Miami a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals with the chance to wrap up the series on Thursday night in Chicago.

The Bulls had their own opportunities, leading from early in the first quarter to midway through the fourth. Derrick Rose scored 23 but committed seven turnovers and missed a shot which would have won the game in regulation.

Now they face an almost impossible mission.

“We just have to do a better job,” said Great Britain international Luol Deng, who scored 20 and added eight rebounds.

“It’s not like we’re out of it. It’s not a position we want to be in, but we’re in it. This is our situation, and we’ve got to deal with it.”

The first half swung back and forth. A 19-4 burst for the Bulls. A 29-9 flurry for the Heat. Then a 18-7 run from Chicago which put then 46-44 ahead at half-time.

With three minutes left in the third, the Bulls were up by eight but Miami went on an 8-2 spurt to set up a thrilling fourth period.

“We know offensively, at times, we have rough stretches,” James said. “But we give ourselves chances to win every game because we defend.”

With Rose’s failing to convert in a one-on-one situation with James, it left the game tied at 85-85 at the end of regulation. Ultimately, it proved to be a squandered chance.

“Tonight, definitely it was on me,” said the league MVP. “I had two opportunities to end the game. Couldn’t do it. If anything, learn from it. Too many turnovers. Really was my fault but I’m going to learn from it.”

After a sensational defensive performance, fatigue looked to set in amongst the Bulls in OT with Rose, going 0-for-3, and Carlos Boozer missing comfortable shots. Miami capitalised, outscoring Chicago 16-8.

The Finals beckon for the Big Three.

“It’s one game away,” James said. “We’re not taking anything for granted.”

pics: NBAE/Getty

 

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