The Miami Heat have evened up their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Chicago Bulls, winning Game 2 handily on Wednesday night. Five Heat players scored in double digits en route to a 115-78 win.
LeBron James scored 19 points, adding 9 assists and 5 rebounds, while Ray Allen came off the bench to score 21 for the Heat. Miami was able to empty its bench early in the fourth quarter, leading by as many as 45 points during the second half.
Norris Cole scored 18 points, Dwyane Wade scored 15, Chris Bosh scored 13, and Mario Chalmers scored 11 for the Heat. The Heat outscored the Bulls in the paint 56-18, and shot 9 for 18 from 3-point range.
Following an offensively challenged performance in Game 1 (when they shot just 40 percent from the field), the Heat got hot early, shooting 11 for 18 in the first quarter and penetrating the paint with ease.
James made his first six attempts of the game (all from within five feet of the hoop), while Chalmers hit a pair of 3-ointers early to force the Bulls to defend the perimeter. Wearing a T-shirt that said "Up To Me" before the game, James appeared to be interpreting the shirt's message literally. Even when he didn 't score in the third quarter, he still dished out five assists.
Miami opened up a 55-41 halftime lead, unloading for 30 points in the second quarter. The momentum continued to build after the break, as the Heat outscored Chicago 30-15 in the third quarter. Through the first three quarters (that is, while Miami's starters were still playing), the Heat shot 58 percent while holding the Bulls to just 34 percent shooting.
Both teams were testy. The Heat and Bulls combined for five technical fouls and one flagrant foul in the first half alone. Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were ejected in separate instances for arguing with the referees following calls they did not appreciate.
Nate Robinson, Chicago's Game 1 hero, scored just 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting. Mario Belinelli led the Bulls with 13 points, while Joakim Noah scored 12.
The Bulls racked up as many personal fouls as made field goals (27 apiece). The loss was the worst playoff loss in team history. It was also Miami's largest playoff margin of victory.
The series shifts to Chicago for Game 3 on Friday night.
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