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Heat Edge Bulls for Series Lead

Behind a strong performance from Chris Bosh, the Miami Heat held on for victory against the Chicago Bulls in Game 3.

Behind a strong performance from Chris Bosh, the Miami Heat held on for victory against the Chicago Bulls in Game 3.

After coasting to victory in Game 2, the Miami Heat found things a little tougher in the Windy City Friday night.

The Heat rode a close game all the way to the finish, edging the Chicago Bulls 104-94 to take a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals.

While it was the Heat that would ultimately grab the headlines, it was another resilient display from the Bulls that raised most eyebrows, with Tom Thibodeau’s side more than brushing off Wednesday’s horrendous performance.

Game 3 Recap

In the wake of Game 2’s 115-78 loss, there were those that believed it was end of days for the Chicago Bulls. With no Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, or Luol Deng on the court, and with the Miami beast awakened, another beatdown looked in order. Of course, this Bulls side has been resilient all season, and even a 37-point loss wasn’t going to deter those taking to the hardwood.

In what was a rough and ready game – albeit one that was a little more controlled than Wednesday’s fiasco that saw Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson ejected – the two sides fought tooth-and-nail for 48 minutes.

The Bulls got strong performances from all five starters, with Carlos Boozer pacing the team with 21 points, while Noah tallied 15 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive glass.

Nate Robinson continued his outstanding playoff run with 17 points, six rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and a block of LeBron James. Jimmy Butler also added 17 points while Marco Belinelli chipped in with 16.

Chris Bosh proved there’s more to Miami that Dwyane Wade and James. The oft-forgotten member of the ‘Big 3’ tallied 20 points and 19 rebounds, the latter a personal playoff best. James added 25 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and two steals, while Wade had just 10 points.

It wasn’t all Bosh and James though. Norris Cole scored 18 points for the second straight game, as the Miami bench outscored Chicago 36-8. Of course, the Bulls don’t have much of a bench to start with. They had even less when Nazr Mohammed was ejected for shoving James to the ground. The Bulls cried flop. The refs didn’t.

Chicago earned a 44-28 advantage in the paint, while Miami led 8-4 in fast break points. Each of those statistics is testament to what was a tough and bruising bout.

Make no mistake, this was a close game. The two sides were tied at the end of the first and third quarters, and separated by just two at the half. Ultimately, the Heat managed to put just enough light between it and the Bulls late in the fourth.

After Belinelli scored a three for the Bulls to put the score at 90-88, James and Cole hit back-to-back triples to bump the score to 96-88 with 1:47 left on the clock. From there on out, a 6 of 7 stint at the free-throw line ensured Miami would pick up the win.

Mohammed shove of James proved to be another testy moment in what has been a gritty series.

Mohammed’s shove of James proved to be another testy moment in what has been a gritty series.

Betting Results

For the second straight game, Miami covered the spread (-8.5), while the total (186) went over for the second time in a row.

The Heat is now 5-2-0 ATS this postseason, including an impeccable 3-0-0 ATS on the road. Chicago slips to 4-6-0 ATS, with a 1-3-0 ATS record at the United Center.

In seven meetings between the two sides this season, Miami now owns a 4-3-0 ATS advantage. Worryingly for the Bulls, that includes a 3-0-0 ATS record in the Windy City.

The total has gone over twice this series and four times (out of seven) in the season head-to-head.

Miami (2-4-1) continues to favor the under. Prior to this series, the Heat had not been involved in a game that saw the total go over all postseason. Chicago (6-4-0) favors the over this postseason.

Game 4 Odds

Miami will once again be the favorite when the two sides reconvene at the United Center for Game 4 on Monday (May 13, 7:00 pm ET).

Early lines have the spread at a reduced 7.5. Chicago covered the spread in both games in the regular season in which it was an underdog by 7.5 or less.

The total opens at 187.



GAME 1: Chicago 93, Miami 86

GAME 2: Chicago 78, Miami 115

GAME 3: Miami 104, Chicago 94

GAME 4: Miami at Chicago (Mon, May 13, 7:00 pm ET)

GAME 5: Chicago at Miami (Wed, May 15, 7:00 pm ET)

GAME 6: Miami at Chicago (Fri, May 16, TBD)*

GAME 7: Chicago at Miami (Sun, May 19, TBD)*

*If necessary

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