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Bulls hold Shaq to 8, roll over Heat 109-90
By TIMES WIRES
Published April 28, 2006
CHICAGO - Instead of looking like the old Shaq, he looked like an old Shaq.
Shaquille O'Neal had one of his worst playoff games, and the Bulls took advantage, beating Miami 109-90 Thursday night in a game that got heated in the end.
The Bulls pulled within 2-1 in this first-round series and host Game 4 on Sunday.
O'Neal finished with eight points and four rebounds. He had one basket through the first three quarters and scored six meaningless points in the fourth, narrowly missing his career playoff low. O'Neal had seven points against Houston on April 19, 2004.
After averaging 24.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in the first two games, O'Neal picked up his third foul just over three minutes into the second and spent the rest of the half on the bench.
Miami's James Posey was ejected with 3:15 left after knocking down Kirk Hinrich on a fast break. Six seconds later, Antoine Walker fouled out and got called for a technical. So did Udonis Haslem, who served a one-game suspension for throwing his mouthpiece toward an official in the opener.
After a 3-pointer by Walker cut the Bulls' lead to 59-56 with 7:25 left in the third, Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon responded with back-to-back 3s and the Heat never threatened after that.
In his first game since suffering a torn right calf in March, Alonzo Mourning grabbed two rebounds and did not score in eight minutes.
PACERS 107, NETS 95: Maybe Jermaine O'Neal's $15,000 fine was worth it. The league fined O'Neal for criticizing officials after Indiana's Game 2 loss at New Jersey. Unfazed, he tied a career playoff high with 37 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the host Pacers, who took a 2-1 lead in their series.
O'Neal has complained throughout that New Jersey players have been flopping and getting calls that limited his effectiveness and kept him on the bench.
"He wanted to go out and show the NBA people and everybody (the Nets) couldn't stop him without hanging all over him," teammate Anthony Johnson said.
Indiana led 78-70 heading into the fourth, but New Jersey cut the lead to 79-76 on two baskets by Richard Jefferson. Indiana got a basket from O'Neal and a 3-pointer from Stephen Jackson to take an 84-76 lead with 8:23 left.