HEAT SCORCH BULLS, HEAD ONWARD TO FINALS

Luol Deng can get ready for Eurobasket. Miami is headed for the NBA Finals. LeBron James hit 28 points as the Heat defeated the Chicago Bulls 83-80.It clinched the Eastern Conference Finals and booked a showdown with the Dallas Mavericks, starting next Tuesday night in South Florida.

But it took a furious late rally to stun the Bulls, with James and Dwyane Wade igniting a game-ending 18-3 run as Miami erased a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

The Big Three lived up to its billing, combining to score the Heat’s last 33 points at the United Center as a potential blowout became a stunning surge.

This is the kind of show that the trio promised last summer when James and Chris Bosh took their talents to South Beach. Four more wins now and they will have delivered.

“There’s no sense of relief right now,” James said. “We’ve still got work to do. We’ll look at this moment tonight, have a little bit of time tomorrow to go over this moment, what we just accomplished.

“But we get ready for Dallas very soon. We don’t take for granted this win and take for granted being Eastern Conference champions.”

The Bulls – led by Derrick Rose’s 25 points – looked set to force a Game 6 when they lead 77-65 with about three minutes left. However Wade, fighting through a shoulder injury and shooting struggles, sparked the fightback with 4 quick points.

A 3 by James made it a 7-0 run with 2:07 left and although Rose then scored on a spin move, the league MVP fouled Wade as he nailed a shot from long-range, resulting in a four-point play.

James hit another three to level at 79-79 with 1:01 remaining and then hit another 2 to give Miami the lead when he stole Rose’s pass.

Rose missed one of two free throws. Bosh hit two. With the clock running down, Rose had the final shot but was crowded out by James as Miami celebrated and the Bulls title bid was extinguished.

“It hurts,” said Deng, who had 18 points and 7 rebounds, but will now get two months off before Great Britain’s training camp opens. “We made mistakes, and they fed off them. They hit their shots. They’ve got great players, and they made great plays.

“That level of play in the fourth quarter is what we have to learn to play with all the time.”

NBA Finals schedule – all games live on ESPN

Game 1 – Tue May 31 Dallas at Miami (3am BST next day)
Game 2 – Thu June 2 Dallas at Miami (3am BST next day)
Game 3 – Sun June 5 Miami at Dallas (12am BST next day)
Game 4 – Tue June 7 Miami at Dallas (3am BST next day)
Game 5 * Thu June 9 Miami at Dallas (3am BST next day)
Game 6 * Sun June 12 Dallas at Miami (2am BST next day)
Game 7 * Tue June 14 Dallas at Miami(3am BST next day)

* If necessary

Pic: NBAE/Getty

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