Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/3

Game 1: Friday, December 3rd
Game 2: Saturday, February 5th
Game 3: Tuesday, February 22nd
Game 4: Tuesday, April 5th

Heat 105

(11-6, 5-3 away)

Bulls 81

(2-11, 1-4 home)

    Coverage: WGN

    7:30 PM ET, December 3, 2004

    United Center, Chicago, IL

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIA 24 29 25 27105
    CHI 21 29 18 1381

    Top Performers

    Mia: E. Jones 21 Pts, 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Chi: K. Hinrich 17 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    14-4 third-quarter run helps Miami pull away

    CHICAGO (AP) -- The assignment was tough enough for the Chicago Bulls: cope with Shaquille O'Neal's power, contain versatile Dwyane Wade and control Eddie Jones' shooting.

    Throw in a surprise 23-point effort from veteran reserve Christian Laettner and the Miami Heat had way too many options for the Bulls to deal with Friday night.

    "Christian Laettner played Duke basketball. I guess we need Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski in the stands all of the time," O'Neal said after Miami's 105-81 victory.

    With Duke's current basketball team watching from the seats before playing Valparaiso on Saturday at the United Center, Laettner, the former Blue Devils star, made 10-of-13 shots.

    Laettner had 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Heat pulled away during a stretch in which O'Neal was on the bench with his fourth foul.

    "It was just fun to have some success in the fourth quarter," said the 35-year-old Laettner, playing in just his sixth game this season after being slowed by a sore knee. "I haven't been in that situation in a while, maybe a year. So it felt good."

    Jones added 21 points, and O'Neal had 18 as the Miami Heat moved the ball around the floor and shot 50.6 percent.

    Jones was 7-of-11 and made three 3-pointers for the Heat. Wade scored 15 points, had 10 rebounds and eight assists.

    Kirk Hinrich scored 17 points, but was scoreless in the second half, and rookie Chris Duhon -- also from Duke -- added a career-high 15 for the Bulls (2-11). Luol Deng, another rookie from Duke, had 12 points for Chicago.

    "Laettner was the best `Dookie' out there tonight," Wade said. "We had great ball movement, we stopped them and got the ball off the boards and did what our coach was preaching."

    When O'Neal went to the bench with his fourth foul at the 3:29 mark of the third quarter, the Heat had a 72-64 lead. Instead of struggling, they went on a 14-4 run -- including 10 straight -- to pull away.

    The Heat increased a three-point halftime lead to 10 late in the third when O'Neal hit a follow and Wesley Person made two jumpers, one a 3-pointer. Jones' two free throws with under a second left kept the Heat ahead by 10.

    Wade's inside basket and free throw, a 3-pointer by Damon Jones and Person's jumper started the Heat on a 8-0 spurt at the outset of the fourth quarter and suddenly it was 86-68.

    Laettner, with his sixth team in 13 seasons, scored 10 second-quarter points to spark a 20-8 Heat run that built a 13-point lead.

    "He has good hands, can drive to the basket and plays solid defense," Hinrich said of Laettner. "He's been a good player in this league for a long time. Obviously we were focusing on their premiere players -- not that he's not a premiere player -- but for him to put up those numbers really hurt us."

    O'Neal had 11 in the opening half, sitting out the final 7:31 of the first quarter after picking up his second foul.

    Game notes

    O'Neal said he considers Chicago's Eddy Curry "one of the good young centers in the league" and has heard the trade rumors surrounding the Bulls' often underachieving fourth-year player. "Everybody is tradable, even a guy who's won three championships," O'Neal said with a laugh, referring to his own circumstance. "Just because he's not doing what I'm doing doesn't mean he's not dedicated. There will never be another me." Curry hit the first basket of the game on a hook over O'Neal and then didn't get another basket, adding just a free throw for three points. He also was limited after being hit in the eye during the second quarter. ... Chicago native Wade said he had about 50 tickets for the game. ... The Heat had 32 assists and won the boards 50-39. ... Chicago scored just 31 second-half points and was 0-for-3 from the free-throw line in the last two quarters. It marked the first time since Jan. 19, 1994, the Bulls didn't make a free throw in a half.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 105 81
    FGM-FGA 40-79 (.506) 33-88 (.375)
    3PM-3PA 9-20 (.450) 7-17 (.412)
    FTM-FTA 16-26 (.615) 8-14 (.571)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-50 12-39
    Assists 32 24
    Turnovers 13 11
    Steals 5 4
    Blocks 8 3
    Fast Break Points 18 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (0/0) 23 (1/1)
    Largest Lead 24 2

    Top Performers

    Eddie Jones Jones
    Points: 21
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 2
    Kirk Hinrich Hinrich
    Points: 17
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 1