The Chicago Bulls returned to the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since the departure of Michael Jordan in 1998 after beating the Atlanta Hawks on their home court in a blow-out victory which sets up a clash with the Miami Heat, beginning on Sunday night.

Led by league MVP Derrick Rose and Great Britain forward Luol Deng, the Bulls completed a 4-2 series win over the Hawks winning 93-73 in Atlanta.

Rose said after the game: “It's huge for us to get this far. We made things tough on them with our defence.”

Deng was a big part of that defence, finishing with 13 points, five rebounds, five assists and a very impressive five steals. Rose added 19 points and 12 assists while veteran power forward Carlos Boozer top scored with 23 points.


The Bulls will host Miami Heat in Game 1 the Conference Finals

The Heat are led by all-star trio LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and Rose admits the Big Three will be a huge challenge for the young Bulls.

“The Heat have great passers and shooters . . . and it's going to be a great matchup,” he said. “We're fine with being considered the underdog if we are. When we showed up for training camp, we knew we could be special. We were ready to put the work in."

Zach Randolph had 30 points and 13 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 95-83 on Friday night to force a deciding Game in their Western Conference semi-final series. The decider is on Sunday evening. Dallas await the winners.

Meanwhile Deng has insisted that GB won’t just be going to London 2012 to make up the numbers.

In a programme – Olympic Dreams – to be broadcast on Sunday at noon on BBC2, the Londoner revealed his ambition for his hometown Games.

"I don't think we are going to the Olympics, just to be in the Olympics,” he said. “I don't think any of us have that in mind. We're going to try and compete with every team. We know it's our first Olympics and other teams have been together longer than us but we're going to compete.

"We're going to be in games. It's not going to be easy for opponents. They're not going to look at Team GB and just circle that game as a win."

Pic: NBAE/Getty

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