Heat 108, Bulls 97

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MIAMI (AP)—Reserve center Michael Doleac gave Miami stars Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade all the help they needed.

O’Neal had 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Wade scored 25 points, and Doleac added a season-high 16 points in Miami’s 108-97 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night, the Heat’s fifth victory in their last six games.

“I don’t worry, because I’ve got the best backup in the world in Mike Doleac,” said O’Neal, who was limited to 32 minutes because of foul trouble. “While I was out, he hit open jumpers and spread the defense a bit.”

O’Neal scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, when he and Doleac both played the first 5:32 minutes.

“It’s a lot of fun playing with Shaq,” Doleac said. “It becomes an easier game for me because everyone is focused on him. You end up getting shots that you would normally not get.”

Ben Gordon led Chicago with 25 points, Luol Deng added 18 points and Kirk Hinrich and Eddy Curry each had 15. The Bulls have lost three straight.

O’Neal scored four points and assisted on Doleac’s jumper during Miami’s 8-0 spurt to start the fourth quarter that made it 85-72.

Wade scored 12 points in the third quarter to help Miami, 19-5 at home, take a 77-72 lead.

With O’Neal and Udonis Haslem in foul trouble, the Bulls rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to get to 63-60 with 5:04 left in the third quarter. Wade then scored Miami’s next seven points to help hold off Chicago’s charge.

“Every time Shaq goes out, I feel like I have to pick it up,” Wade said. “It wasn’t any different today than any other day.”

“We had our chance right there to stay in the game but on three consecutive trips we didn’t get to get a shot on the basket,” Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. “When you’re not getting a shot, and your playing a team like them, they’re gonna make you pay for that.”

Doleac’s 8-of-10 overall shooting performance added to Chicago’s frustrations.

“Doleac had more than moments—he was fantastic off the bench and got us through foul trouble with Udonis,” Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said.

Wade scored 11 points and O’Neal 10 as the Heat built a 51-36 halftime lead.

“We played in spurts tonight,” Gordon said. “For us to be a successful team, we gotta play extra hard than anybody else. We can’t play in spurts. We have to play hard for 48 minutes.”

Doleac hit all four of his shots and had three rebounds in 11 second-quarter minutes.


Both teams made pregame moves. Chicago center/forward Antonio Davis (mid-back strain) went on the injured list and center Jared Reiner was activated, while Miami placed forward Qyntel Woods (right knee patella tendinitis) on the list and activated swingman Wesley Person. … The game was Chicago’s second on a four-game road trip. The Bulls play at Dallas on Tuesday night and Houston on Wednesday night … Former Bulls forward Scottie Pippen and rapper Pharrell attended the game. … Florida Marlins reliever Tim Spooneybarger took part in a shooting contest during a first-half timeout.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
L. Deng L. Deng
7-12,  18 Pts
9 Rebs, 3 Assists
S. O'Neal S. O'Neal
10-17,  26 Pts
10 Rebs, 6 Assists

Team Stat Leaders