NBA Game Summary - Miami at Chicago
(Tuesday, December 13th)
Final Score: Miami 100, Chicago 97
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Shaquille O'Neal scored 30 points in his second game back from an ankle injury, and Pat Riley picked up a win in his first contest as a head coach since 2003, as Miami defeated Chicago, 100-97, at the United Center.
Riley took over on Monday following the sudden resignation of Stan Van Gundy, who stepped down after announcing he wanted to spend more time with his family. Van Gundy, who was in his third season with Miami, took the Heat within one game of the NBA Finals last season and had a career regular-season record of 112-73.
This marks a return to the Miami sidelines for Riley, who also acts as the team's president. Riley previously spent eight seasons as the Heat's head coach (1995-2003) and, counting this game, has now compiled a 355-270 mark with the team, which also includes one appearance in the Eastern Conference finals. Under Riley, Miami won four consecutive division titles starting in the 1996-97 season and he was also honored as NBA Coach of the Year following the '96-97 campaign.
Riley stepped down from his position just prior to the 2003-04 season, but in 21 years as a head coach with the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Heat, Riley has a stellar record of 1,111-569, including this win. The 60- year-old Riley has also won four NBA titles (all with Los Angeles) and been named NBA Coach of the Year three times.
"Two years go by very fast," said Riley. "Tonight I had to get right into the competition and this game. A lot of things have gone under the bridge during that time. It was just exciting to be out there and see these two teams play hard."
O'Neal, who sprained his right ankle during the second game of the season, had fouled out in his first contest back, but returned to his dominant self in this one. The All-Star center, who played 28 minutes, finished 12-of-21 from the floor and also grabbed seven rebounds.
"It was cool to have him (Riley) on the bench," said O'Neal. "You know that he knows what he is doing out there. I thought he did a fabulous job. We looked pretty good tonight, but we've got to continue to improve our game."
Dwyane Wade had 14 points and 11 assists while Antoine Walker also scored 14 for the Heat, who have won two straight following a four-game losing streak.
Kirk Hinrich had 26 points and eight assists while Darius Songaila contributed 19 points for the Bulls, who have dropped two of three.
Leading 69-65 after three quarters, Miami quickly gained a nine-point edge on O'Neal's hoop two minutes into the final period. The margin grew to 12 points moments later before Chicago rallied.
Hinrich's three-pointer with around four minutes left brought the Bulls within 86-83 and capped a 15-6 spurt. Chicago then crept within two points on Luol Deng's bucket with 2:40 remaining, but three straight points from O'Neal, culminated by an emphatic driving dunk, gave the Heat a 92-87 lead.
The Bulls again got within two points in the waning seconds, but Gary Payton hit 1-of-2 from the foul line to widen the lead to 99-96. Hinrich was then fouled at the other end, but also made just one, bringing Chicago within two points.
However, Wade could not seal the victory as he missed 1-of-2 from the foul line with 6.9 seconds left.
Deng, though, misfired on a three-point attempt as time expired.
"We played hard," said Chicago head coach Scott Skiles. "We had a lot of energy, pretty much the whole game through...We did not make enough shots. We had open shots all over the place. We had a hard time making them."
Miami jumped out to a 14-4 lead on Payton's three-pointer with 8:11 left in the first quarter, but the Bulls battled back to cut the deficit to 24-22 after one period.
The Heat quickly widened the lead back to double-digits as they began the second quarter on a 17-7 run to claim a 41-29 edge. Walker hit a pair of three-pointers and O'Neal added five points during the surge.
Chicago got within six, but eventually trailed 52-43 at the half.
O'Neal's basket early in the third period stretched the cushion to 13 points, but the Bulls would not fold. Chicago used the homecourt advantage and fought within 69-65 after 36 minutes.
Alonzo Mourning had 11 points and 12 boards while Payton and Udonis Haslem both netted 10 points in the win...Jannero Pargo scored 11 in the loss...Miami has won eight of the last nine meetings...The Heat held a commanding 42-16 edge in the paint...Wade was trying to become the only player in franchise history to score at least 30 points in four straight games.
12/14 00:13:16 ET