KNOWING HIS team needed him at his best, Dwyane Wade retreated to the Miami Heat locker room after the third quarter for some quick treatment on his aching right knee. When he came back, he was good as new. And now he can rest until the Eastern Conference finals.
LeBron James scored 23 points, Wade added 18 and had a brilliant 45-second sequence that proved crucial, and the Heat clawed back from an 11-point second-half deficit to beat the Chicago Bulls, 94-91, last night and close out their second-round series in five games.
"We gave it everything we had," James said. "I have no energy left."
The Heat outscored visiting Chicago 25-14 in the fourth quarter to escape and advance.
"I knew the fourth quarter was going to be tough so I wanted to retape my knee," said Wade, who has been battling bone bruises on his knee for several weeks. "I knew I was going to come back into a grind. Our trainers did a great job of getting it taped it enough so I could come out and play."
Did they ever.
Wade had a blocked shot, defensive rebound, offensive rebound and putback slam - all in a late 45-second span - to help cap a wild night of wild comebacks. The Heat blew an early 18-point lead, then pulled off a late rally to finish off the depleted Bulls, who still had two chances on their last possession to force overtime.
But Nate Robinson and Jimmy Butler missed three-pointers, time expired, and Miami moved on to face Indiana or New York next week.
"Dwyane is uncanny," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "When the competition is at its highest, and its fiercest, he finds a way."
Carlos Boozer finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who were without Derrick Rose for the 99th straight game, as well as Kirk Hinrich (calf) and Luol Deng (illness). Robinson scored 21 points, Butler had 19, and Richard Hamilton 15 for the Bulls, who dropped the final four games of the series.
"Obviously we're disappointed in losing the series," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "But I was never disappointed in our team. I thought our team fought hard all year long. There was no quit in them."
The NBA Board of Governors rejected the prospective relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, voting 22-8 to deny the move of the franchise. That led to angry and frustrated reactions from NBA fans in Seattle who spent several months thinking they might see the return of the SuperSonics with investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as owners.
* A trial date has been set for former NBA All-Star Chris Gatling, who is accused of squatting in a Paradise Valley, Ariz., home and then trying to list the place for rent on Craigslist. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office said Chris Gatling has pleaded not guilty to two counts of theft and forgery, one count of taking the identity of another and one count of fraud. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for June 7.