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Heat-Bulls, Game 3

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Golden State vs. San Antonio

The heat is on inside the second round series between Miami and Chicago after a pair of high-intensity contests. Miami rebounded from a sluggish effort in the series opener to blow away Chicago in Wednesday’s Game 2, as the defending champions try to keep their composure with things shifting to the Windy City for each of the next two contests.

The fireworks began on Chicago's opening possession with a hard foul by Udonis Haslem on Nate Robinson. The Bulls responded with Marco Belinelli roughing up Dwyane Wade on a fast break to even up the score, but Chicago was the team that became unraveled. The two teams combined for nine technicals, one flagrant foul, and two ejections, as Miami used a 72-30 run to rout Chicago, 115-78, to easily cash as 13-point favorites.

Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were each ejected in the second half, as the Bulls' offense never got going by shooting just 35% from the floor. Carlos Boozer struggled for the second straight game, scoring eight points on 3-of-9 shooting, while putting up just 14 points in the series. Robinson couldn't come up with the big shots on Wednesday, as the diminutive guard tallied 11 points after several key baskets in Game 1.

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After scoring just 86 points in the opener, the Heat offense picked things up with a 55-point first half, while putting up 60 points in the final 24 minutes. LeBron James scored 19 points, but 12 of those points came in the first quarter. Norris Cole helped key a late second quarter run by drilling a pair of three-pointers, while Wade shot an economical 7-of-11 from the field.

The Heat and Bulls split a pair of meetings at the United Center, but the contest that stuck out to most came in late March. Chicago snapped Miami's 27-game winning streak with a 101-97 victory as 6 ½-point underdogs, as Luol Deng paced the Bulls with 28 points. Deng missed the first two games of this series with complications following a spinal tap last week, as he is expected to miss Game 3.

Tom Thibodeau's club started the postseason with a 2-1 mark to the 'under,' but the Bulls have now cashed the 'over' in five of the last six contests. The Chicago offense has eclipsed the 100-point mark in only one of nine postseason games, coming in the 142-point output in the Game 4 triple-overtime victory over Brooklyn in the first round. The Bulls own an 11-4 ATS record the last 15 games as an underdog off a loss.

Miami has won 42 of its previous 45 trips to the court, while compiling a 15-5 ATS ledger the last 20 games. On the highway, the Heat owns an amazing 8-1 ATS record the past nine highway contests, as the only setback came at Chicago to end the long hot streak. The Heat has shaded to the 'under' away from the American Airlines Arena recently, hitting in nine of the last 15 road games.

Handicapper Joe Nelson points out the value in Chicago on Friday, "On the year Miami is just 7-10 ATS on the road against winning teams and while Chicago has a very poor ATS record at home they have rarely played at home in this type of an underdog role." The Bulls barely profited as a home 'dog this season, putting together a 5-4 ATS record, while beating the Knicks twice, Heat, and Lakers.

The Heat are listed as seven-point favorites, while the total is set at 187 ½. The game tips off at 8:05 PM EST and can be seen nationally on TNT.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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