MIAMI (AP) -- Pat Riley called this one perfectly.
"Great players will find a way to get around any defense when
you raise the stakes," Riley said. "And Dwyane is a big-game
Sure enough, Riles was right.
Wade scored 30 points, 14 in the fourth quarter -- including six
straight to lead Miami back from its only deficit of the night --
and the Heat beat the Bulls 111-106 in Game 1 of their Eastern
Conference series on Saturday night.
"That's what he does," Heat center Shaquille O'Neal said.
"The fourth quarter is his."
Echoed Wade: "Like Shaq and I always say, the fourth quarter is
Wade added 11 assists for Miami before hobbling into the locker
room with 8.6 seconds left, succumbing to a severe cramp in his
calf. O'Neal added 27 points and 16 rebounds for the Heat, who can
now enjoy a lead and a good omen -- no O'Neal team has ever lost a
playoff series when taking a 1-0 lead.
Game 2 is Monday in Miami.
"We didn't play as smart as we needed to in some instances,"
Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "But we put it all out there. ...
We took it down to the end. We had our opportunities. We just
weren't able to make the big plays when it was necessary to make
Ben Gordon scored 35 points and Andres Nocioni had an 18-point,
15-rebound effort for Chicago, which connected on 13 tries from
3-point range. Kirk Hinrich scored 19 points and had eight assists
for the Bulls, who entered the game as the NBA's hottest team,
winning 10 of their last 11 in the regular season.
"No moral victories at this point in the season," Gordon said.
"We've just got to figure out how to slow them down. I thought in
the first half they had way too many fast-break points and in the
key moments of the game we had some turnovers that really hurt
By the time he left, Wade -- who averaged 12.3 points and shot
24.3 percent in three regular-season meetings with Chicago -- had
done plenty to doom the Bulls' chances of stealing the opener.
The Bulls never led until the fourth quarter, using a 12-0 run
to turn an 87-79 deficit into a 91-87 lead. Gordon had 10 of those
12 points, including a pair of free throws that ended the run with
Wade, who was 4-for-15 at that point, provided Miami's answer.
He scored the game's next six points, capping his personal burst
with a jumper over Chris Duhon for a 93-91 edge with 7:06 left.
O'Neal added a dunk 35 seconds later for a four-point lead and the
Heat never trailed again.
"Too much Dwyane Wade and Shaq in the end," Duhon said.
Wade said he didn't believe the cramping issue would keep him
out of Game 2.
"I'll be all right," Wade said. "I'll get a lot of liquids
and Gatorade in me tonight, and I'll be good for Monday."
Wade had two huge rebounds in the final minute, first an
offensive one that allowed Miami to run 20 critical seconds off the
clock, then a defensive board off Nocioni's missed 3-pointer with
16 seconds left. He was fouled and hit both free throws to give the
Heat a five-point lead with 14 seconds remaining.
"We feel like we should have stolen that game," Hinrich said.
"We were right there."
The win added to an emotional time for Riley, whose 96-year-old
mother Mary died on Friday. Riley's eyes reddened as he discussed
his mother's death before the game, although he insisted that his
personal turmoil will not distract him during the playoffs.
"My mother always used to say, and she told me time and again
this week, 'Life goes on, so get on with it," Riley said. "She
couldn't stop saying that to her children. That's who she was. And
we're getting on with it."
There were some fireworks in the first half, when Heat forward
Udonis Haslem wound up on the floor after battling three Bulls for
a rebound and voiced his displeasure in a less-than-ideal manner --
he threw his mouthpiece in the direction of referee Joey Crawford,
who immediately signaled his ejection.
"I threw my mouthpiece at the ground," said an apologetic
Haslem afterward. "Looking at it on TV, I could see how Joey would
think I was throwing it at him."
It wasn't clear if the mouthpiece actually hit Crawford, who
began angrily shouting and pointing at someone sitting with the
Heat radio crew at the scorers' table about 1½ minutes later.
But Crawford wasn't the only person in the arena left fired up
by the Haslem incident.
After Haslem left, Miami scored the next seven points to start a
half-ending 22-11 run for a 63-51 lead at intermission. Wade had
seven points in the period-ending spurt, but Gordon had 11 in the
third quarter as the Bulls got within five entering the final
"We've got to expect a war," Heat guard Gary Payton said.
"Everybody's overlooking this team, but this is a very good
Chicago drew five offensive fouls in the first half. ...
Malik Allen was 4-for-4 in the game's first 7:08, but didn't hit
another shot until 9:55 remained in the third quarter. ... Wade
donned a new design of his Converse signature sneakers, with pleats
instead of slits, synthetic crocodile skin at the toe and his logo
on the heel. "They'll look nice, hopefully, when I'm in the air --
from the back," Wade said. ... Injured C Alonzo Mourning got into
the spirit of the Heat's "White Hot" playoff marketing motto,
wearing a white suit and white shoes. ... Attendance was 20,288,
the largest home postseason crowd in Heat history.