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Archive for Friday, April 28, 2006

Bulls shackle Shaq

Late technical fouls cap Chicago rout

April 28, 2006

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— Instead of looking like his old self, Shaquille O'Neal simply looked old, flustered and frustrated.

O'Neal had one of his worst playoff performances, and the Chicago Bulls took advantage, beating the Miami Heat, 109-90, on Thursday night in a game that got heated in the end.

The Bulls pulled within 2-1 in the first-round series and will play host Sunday to Game 4.

"I guess we were just out of it today," O'Neal said.

He finished with eight points and four rebounds. He had one basket through the first three quarters and scored six meaningless points in the fourth, narrowly missing his career playoff low. O'Neal had seven points against Houston on April 19, 2004.

After averaging 24.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in the first two games, O'Neal picked up his third foul just over three minutes into the second quarter and spent the rest of the half on the bench.

Miami's James Posey was ejected with 3:15 left after knocking down Kirk Hinrich on a fast break and receiving a flagrant foul. Six seconds later, Antoine Walker fouled out and got called for a technical foul. So did Udonis Haslem, who served a one-game suspension for throwing his mouthpiece toward an official in the series opener.

"He thought we had an advantage and wanted to make a hard foul," Hinrich said. "It's just part of the game. Just got to take it."

Posey said he did not foul Hinrich out of frustration. He was simply trying to get back on defense, and Hinrich did not see him.

"He didn't see me, first of all," said Posey, who faces a fine and possible suspension. "So anything like that - a guy coming from the side - a collision will happen like that. That's all it was."

Chicago's Ben Gordon scored 24 after being held to 13 in Game 2 on Monday, and Hinrich finished with 22 points and 11 assists. Luol Deng scored 21, and Andres Nocioni contributed 19 points and nine rebounds.

Pacers 107, Nets 95

Indianapolis - Jermaine O'Neal finally stayed out of foul trouble, and that was bad news for the New Jersey Nets.

O'Neal tied a career playoff high with 37 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and the Pacers beat the Nets to take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

Anthony Johnson scored 13 of his 25 in the fourth quarter for the Pacers, who will play host Saturday to Game 4.

Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter each scored 25 for the Nets, but Carter was held without a field goal in the second half. The Pacers held the Nets to 9-for-38 shooting (24 percent) in the second half.

Foul trouble had limited O'Neal to no more than 32 minutes in each of the first two games. He averaged 13.5 points and five rebounds in those contests, well below his regular-season averages of 20.1 points and 9.3 rebounds. On Thursday, he shot 12-for-15 from the field and 13-for-14 from the line.

Nuggets 94, Clippers 87

Denver - The Denver Nuggets didn't need their fiery forward to get back into their playoff series with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Playing without Kenyon Martin, who was suspended for insubordination, the Nuggets won behind Carmelo Anthony's hard-fought 24 points.

The Nuggets will try to tie the series 2-2 Saturday night in Denver, after which Martin might be allowed to return to the team.

Marcus Camby added 12 points and 13 rebounds for Denver.

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