Bulls stun the Heat, Spurs win a thriller

LATE FIGHTBACK::San Antonio trailed by 16 points with four minutes left in regulation, before going on an 18-2 run to close the fourth quarter and force overtime


Wed, May 08, 2013 - Page 20

The Chicago Bulls stunned the Miami Heat 93-86 on Monday night to take Game 1 of their NBA Eastern Conference semi-final series.

Trailing 86-83 with two minutes left, the Bulls scored the final 10 points of the game to beat the Heat once again.

In San Antonio, Texas, Manu Ginobili scored a three-pointer from the wing with 1.2 seconds left in double overtime to lift the Spurs to a thrilling 129-127 victory over the Golden State Warriors in the West.

Chicago’s Nate Robinson scored 27 points, while Jimmy Butler added 21 points and 14 rebounds in playing every second for the third straight game.

Joakim Noah added 13 points, Taj Gibson had 12 and Marco Belinelli added 10 for the Bulls, who snapped a 27-game Miami winning streak during the regular season and handed the Heat their first loss in their past 13 games.

LeBron James scored 24 points for Miami, who also got 14 from Dwyane Wade.

Game 2 is today in Miami.

The Bulls were without Derrick Rose, as they have been all season. Kirk Hinrich was out again with a calf injury. Luol Deng is not even expected to rejoin the team until Tuesday, after dealing with an illness apparently so severe that a spinal tap — and other tests since — were needed to rule out things such as meningitis.

“I think when you’re facing adversity, you have to be mentally tough, but this is just one game,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We have to play a lot better in our next one.”

A pair of three-point plays by James — one of them coming when he just broke through a tackle attempt by Butler and muscled the ball to the rim anyway — gave Miami a 76-69 lead midway through the fourth quarter, the biggest deficit Chicago faced all night.

The Bulls, predictably, were undeterred. Coming off a Game 7 road win in Brooklyn two nights earlier just to get into a series with Miami, the Bulls just kept grinding.

When Ray Allen made a three-pointer to give Miami an 80-78 lead, Butler came back with one of his own to put the Bulls back on top. When the Heat went up by three after James made a free throw with 2:22 left, Belinelli connected for three — on a second-effort possession — to level the game.

Then when Robinson connected on a 20-footer with 1:18 left, the Bulls had the lead and plenty of swagger.

James was honored before the game, with a brief on-court ceremony to commemorate his fourth NBA Most Valuable Player award.

The Spurs trailed by 16 points with four minutes left in regulation — thanks largely to Stephen Curry’s 44 points — before going on an 18-2 run to close the fourth quarter and force overtime.

They trailed 127-126 with 3.9 seconds left in second overtime, before Ginobili hit his three-pointer off a pass from Kawhi Leonard.

“It’s only the second one I made all day,” Ginobili said. “Good timing though.”

Golden State had one final chance, but Jarrett Jack’s three-point attempt from the top of the key was off.