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So far, fourth quarter telling tale between Bulls, Heat

Updated: August 28, 2011 12:22AM



Even a series that features two of the most exceptional players in the NBA, Derrick Rose and LeBron James, could come down to a turf war.

In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, the Bulls kept James and Dwyane Wade out of the paint late in the game and won big. In Game 2, the Miami Heat kept Rose at bay on the perimeter and won a big game.

‘‘That fourth quarter is probably what’s going to epitomize this entire series,’’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Wednesday after the teams had combined for 24 fourth-quarter points. ‘‘It’s an absolute street fight for both teams. It’s physical basketball. I don’t know if the basketball aficionado likes a 14-10 score in the fourth quarter, but that’s probably what it’s going to come down to and what it will take often in these games.’’

Haslem takes heat

Since being sidelined by a torn ligament in his foot that required surgery in late November, Heat forward Udonis Haslem has played 30 minutes. Twenty-three of them came in Game 2, when he scored 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting and had five rebounds, two assists, a steal and a blocked shot.

‘‘He played great for them,’’ Bulls guard Kyle Korver said. ‘‘It probably meant a lot to them. He really gave them a spark.’’

‘‘I want to thank the Man upstairs,’’ Haslem said. ‘‘It’s been a long road.’’

Low balling

The Bulls’ 34.1 percent shooting in Game 2 was a season low. The previous low was 36.9 percent against the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 20. The Bulls still beat the Mavs 82-77 that night, aided by 7-for-16 three-point shooting.

The Bulls’ 15 percent three-point shooting in Game 2 tied their postseason low from their Game 4 loss at Indiana in the first round. Their worst three-point shooting was 11.1 percent against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 28.

Board of education

On Wednesday, the Heat outrebounded the Bulls for the first time in four meetings (45-41) and notched its first win against them. A 13-8 edge in the fourth quarter was especially telling.

‘‘You can do whatever you want the whole game,’’ Bulls forward Taj Gibson said. ‘‘But late, you have to focus in, lock in.’’

The Bulls also were 16-for-26 from the free-throw line.



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