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Sports

East battle between Heat and Bulls set to resume

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Dwyane Wade's right arm had a nasty gash that left him unwilling to shoot the ball for Miami down the stretch. Omer Asik needed stitches around his chin, not to mention a Chicago jersey that wasn't covered in his own blood.

That was Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

And in Game 3, both sides expect more of the same.

"We haven't been able to ease into anything this year," Heat forward LeBron James said.

Don't look for that to change anytime soon.

With a 2-1 series lead at stake, the Bulls and Heat renew acquaintances tonight in Miami, ending a roughly 94-hour hiatus in the already-physical matchup. When Game 2 ended Wednesday, just about everyone in the Heat locker room had an icepack strapped to something, and more than a few limped their way to the bus that would carry them to the airport.

"Fortunately, we were able to have some days to recuperate," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Our guys, they're not shying away from it. Neither team is. Both teams have built these habits for the entire season. We've proven we're an aggressive, attacking, physical defense that rebounds the basketball. … They've proven to be the same. So you have two things colliding into each other."

Since 2006, when the Heat won their lone title, the winner of Game 3 of the East title series has advanced to the NBA finals every time.

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