Tuesday, March 10, 2009
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What a Wade! 3-pointer at end lifts Heat over Bulls

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[March 10, 2009]  MIAMI (AP) -- Dwyane Wade decided two overtimes were enough, in emphatic fashion.

Miami's MVP candidate stole the ball from John Salmons with 4 seconds left, then made a running 3-pointer as time expired to lift the Heat to a wild 130-127 double-overtime win over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.

"If Mr. Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr., if he's not legitimately considered for an MVP candidate, I don't know what he needs to do," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We are currently a playoff contender and night after night, he's making incredible plays like this."

HardwareWade -- who finished with 48 points and 12 assists in 49 minutes, shooting 15-for-21 from the field -- made a 3-pointer at the end of the first half, then again at the end of regulation.

And after missing a layup at the end of the first extra session, he more than atoned for that at the end.

Referees reviewed the play for more than two minutes, before Mark Wunderlich shot his hands in the air, officially giving Miami the win.

"We played a good game, both teams," Wade said. "Credit the Bulls. This is one of those games for the ages."

Michael Beasley had 18 points, Mario Chalmers added 17 and Jamario Moon scored 13 for the Heat, who stayed within 1 1/2 games of Atlanta for the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.


Ben Gordon scored a season-high 43 points for the Bulls, including eight 3-pointers. Salmons scored 29 and Derrick Rose added 23 for the Bulls, who are now 0-3 against Miami this season.

Beasley found Udonis Haslem for an easy two-hand slam to break a tie, then caught an alley-oop pass from Wade for a dunk and three-point play on the next possession by Miami, putting the Heat up 124-119 with 2:19 left.

Beasley hung on the rim for a second, letting out a scream of delight.

Wade walked slowly to the other end, bent over and gasped for air.

He certainly had a wild night. Wade made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from near midcourt at the end half, sent it to overtime with another 3, then missed a reverse layup with less than 1 second left in the first overtime.

And when Tyrus Thomas had a follow-up slam with 1 minute left, the game was tied once again at 125. That wasn't the last, either: Wade's layup put Miami up two, before Salmons knotted it on the next Chicago trip.

Wade decided that was enough, hitting his career-best fifth 3-pointer to end the game. Dribbling down the court, he said he was thinking what Spoelstra said in the game's final stoppage, telling players they had one more timeout left.

"I was about to call it," Wade said. "And then I said, 'Nah.'"

Miami led 84-74 entering the fourth, after Wade scored 27 points in the middle two quarters to recharge the Heat.

Miami trailed 11-1 in the early minutes and was down by 13 later in the half, but went into intermission with a 54-52 lead -- thanks to Wade hitting a 31-footer with less than 1 second left before the break.

And that seemed like it would be the spark.

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Wade had 15 points in the third quarter, the Heat led 84-70 late in the period and settled for the 10-point edge entering the fourth, which typically is enough.

The Heat were 15-2 at home when taking leads into the final quarter; the Bulls were 4-19 on the road when trailing with 12 minutes left.

But Gordon -- a career 21-point-per-game scorer against Miami -- single-handedly got the Bulls back on top.

He scored 14 straight Chicago points in the final minutes of regulation, including hitting 3-pointers on four of five possessions in one stretch. Gordon then made one of two free throws with 20.7 seconds left, putting Chicago up 104-101.

That left Wade plenty of time.

The reigning Eastern Conference player of the week almost made it look easy, making a 3-pointer over Salmons for the final basket of regulation.

It was the 78th straight game where Wade scored in double figures, matching his franchise record. He's also scored at least 20 points in 19 straight games, putting him one away from matching the Heat record in that department -- which he also owns.

But that was irrelevant in the end, as the Heat pulled out their biggest win of the year.

"It's definitely up there," Chalmers said. "We fought hard."


Notes: It was Latin Night -- "Noche Latina," part of the NBA's annual tribute to fans and players from Latin America and Hispanic cities -- Miami wore black uniforms with "El Heat" across the chest. The Heat will wear the jerseys again Saturday at home against Utah. ... Bulls F Tyrus Thomas picked up a technical with 2:28 left in the third, throwing his gum at a nearby official after picking up his fourth foul. ... Former Heat center Alonzo Mourning isn't sitting idle in retirement; he has a meeting in Tallahassee on Tuesday with Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, discussing Medicare for kidney patients. Mourning had a kidney transplant in 2003.

[Associated Press; By TIM REYNOLDS]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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