Bulls beat Heat again
Chicago takes 2-0 lead in series
This time, Shaquille O'Neal had nothing but praise for the opponent and the officiating.
The only finger he pointed was at himself.
He realizes he needs to do more if the Miami Heat are going to climb out of another 2-0 playoff deficit. Dwyane Wade needs to step up, too.
Ben Gordon scored 27 points and Luol Deng added 26 to lead the Bulls to a 107-89 victory last night in Chicago and a 2-0 lead over the defending champions in this first-round series.
"I have been around a long time and I've been in all these situations before," O'Neal said. "Basically, the Bulls did what they're supposed to do and protect their home court. We have to play smarter basketball. We got to come with a lot more energy and play with a lot more effort and a lot more passion."
Gordon scored 11 in the third quarter, hitting three 3-pointers, and the Bulls built a 17-point lead. Deng scored 14 in the fourth as Chicago sent Miami halfway to elimination.
O'Neal accused the Bulls of flopping and lashed out at referee Eddie F. Rush after Game 1, but said it was a "perfect game today" for the officials. It was anything but that for the Heat and their superstars.
O'Neal and Wade had subpar performances again after struggling through foul trouble in the opener, finishing with 17 and 21 points, respectively. O'Neal was just 6 for 14 from the floor with eight rebounds. Wade, who led a late charge in Game 1, never really got going, hitting 9 of 19. And both had seven turnovers.
"We really can't make any excuses tonight," O'Neal said. "It was a well played game. They just outplayed us. I had way too many turnovers. They shot the ball extremely well."
Trailing, 85-71, through three quarters, the Heat were within 7 after Wade's layup early in the fourth, but they had no answer for Deng. Quiet in the first half after scoring 33 in the opener, Deng scored the Bulls' first 8 points in the fourth before Thabo Sefolosha hit a jumper that made it 95-82 midway through the quarter.
The best-of-seven series shifts to Miami for two games, with Game 3 Friday night.
"We've been here before, you know what I'm saying?" Miami's Alonzo Mourning said. "I have the utmost confidence in my teammates and this team that we can pick ourselves back up and get back on track."
Suns 126, Lakers 98 -- Phoenix's offense is racing at top speed, and that Game 2 jinx is history.
The Suns revved up their frenetic style to near perfection in a rout of visiting Los Angeles that put Phoenix up, 2-0, in their first-round series.
The Suns had lost five consecutive playoff Game 2's, including one at home against the Lakers a year ago. But it was apparent early that this would be no replay. Phoenix led by 21 in the second quarter and 28 in the third.
Leandro Barbosa, presented with the NBA Sixth Man Award trophy before tipoff, scored 26 to match his career playoff high for the second game in a row, leading six Suns in double figures.
Kobe Bryant tried to beat the Suns by himself in Game 1. This time, he mainly deferred to his teammates. The strategy that worked so well a year ago was a flop.
The NBA's scoring champ, coming off a 39-point performance in the Lakers' 95-87 loss in Game 1 on Sunday, scored 15 on 5-of-13 shooting. He shot 1-of-6 and scored 6 points in the final three quarters. He took one shot in the second quarter, and missed.
Raptors 89, Nets 83 -- Toronto made Sam Mitchell a winner twice yesterday.
Anthony Parker scored 26 points, Chris Bosh added 25 points and 13 rebounds, and host Toronto beat New Jersey to even their first-round series at a game apiece.
New Jersey's Bostjan Nachbar missed a 3-pointer from the corner that would have tied the game with eight seconds to play. Game 3 is Friday night in New Jersey.
Toronto got its first playoff victory since a 94-84 home win over Detroit April 27, 2002. It came hours after Mitchell was honored as the NBA's coach of the year after leading the Raptors to a 20-win improvement and their first Atlantic Division title.
T.J. Ford scored 13 points for the Raptors, including four key free throws in the final minute. Parker also made three free throws in the final eight seconds.