Chicago holds off bickering Heat
Chicago ? The Miami Heat bickered among themselves. Shaquille O’Neal had another rough outing. And the Chicago Bulls took advantage.
Kirk Hinrich scored 21 points and hit a key three-pointer with 1:09 left, and the Bulls evened the first-round series at 2-2 with a 93-87 victory Sunday.
“The team believes it can win this series, and that’s it,” forward Andres Nocioni said.
With O’Neal in foul trouble for much of the game, the Bulls built a 13-point lead in the third quarter, only to fall behind in the fourth before pulling the game out. Game 5 in the best-of-seven series is Tuesday in Miami.
Chris Duhon’s runner gave the Bulls an 85-83 lead with 1:42 left. After a timeout, Miami’s Dwyane Wade missed a jumper, and Hinrich hit a three-pointer from several feet beyond the top of the key to make it 88-83 with 1:09 left.
“I knew that I was behind the line a little ways, but I wasn’t thinking about how long,” he said. “I knew the clock was down to about six or five. They were off me, and I took a rhythm dribble and let it go.”
Wade’s layup made it a three-point game, and Hinrich threw the ball away with 46.8 seconds left. But the Heat couldn’t capitalize.
Wade missed a jumper, Udonis Haslem missed the put-back, and Wade missed another follow-up. And the Bulls hung on, although Tyson Chandler was carried off the court with 26.3 seconds because of what the Bulls said was a moderate to mild right-ankle sprain.
Nocioni led the Bulls with 24 points, and Ben Gordon scored 23. Hinrich had nine assists.
Antoine Walker scored 21 for the Heat, and Wade finished with 20 on 8-of-23 shooting. But O’Neal was in foul trouble for the second straight game. He finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and four fouls, and left the locker room without talking to reporters.
Heat teammates Gary Payton and Wade shouted at each other late in the first half. They continued to go at it during a timeout with 39.8 seconds left in the second quarter, and Walker got into it with Payton.
“Next question. Next question,” Payton said when asked about the spat.
“Nah, I ain’t talking about that,” Wade said.
And Walker shrugged off the question, saying, “I don’t know. We messed up a play or something.”
Lakers 99, Suns 98, OT
Los Angeles – Kobe Bryant’s 17-foot jumper as time expired in overtime gave the Lakers an improbable victory and a 3-1 lead.
Wizards 106, Cavaliers 96
Washington – With LeBron James suddenly, stunningly, quiet after a tremendous first half, Gilbert Arenas scored 20 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Wizards’ comeback and tie the first-round series at 2.
Kings 102, Spurs 84
Sacramento, Calif. – The champs had better be careful. The Kings are playing with the flair and fire of 12 Ron Artests – and they’ve evened up their playoff series with the mighty Spurs. Bonzi Wells had 25 points and 17 rebounds, and Brad Miller added 19 points.