MIAMI — 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 on Wednesday night and close out their second-round series in five games. The Heat outscored 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 re-tape 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 3-pointers, time expired, and Miami moved on to face Indiana or New York next week.
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 and Butler had 1915 for the Bulls, who dropped the final four games of the series.
KINGS: After nearly four months of awaiting a decision on the return of professional basketball, Seattle was left Wednesday feeling jilted again.
And wondering when, and if, the NBA will ever reappear. The NBA Board of Governors rejected the prospective relocation of the Sacramento Kings, voting 22-8 to deny the move with no promise of a future team for fans in the Puget Sound region.
“This was not an anti-Seattle vote, but a pro-Sacramento vote,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said.
The vote 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.
“I share the disappointment of Sonics fans about today’s vote. But we are in this for the long haul,” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said. “The memorandum of understanding we have with Chris Hansen is for five years, and we will continue working to bring the NBA back to Seattle.”