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Heat won't count out Bulls yet

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 02:17 PM

LeBron James is doing it all for Miami, hitting big shots and clamping down on MVP Derrick Rose.

The Heat lead the Chicago Bulls 3-1 in the Eastern Conference finals and a win tonight at the United Center would mean they'll be playing for a championship.

That's exactly the way James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh envisioned it when they decided to join together in the offseason. Miami is on the verge of its first trip to the finals since 2006 after beating Chicago 101-93 in overtime on Tuesday.

James led the way with 35 points and helped contain Rose down the stretch. Bosh chipped in with 22, Wade came up with three big blocks in overtime and the bench again delivered as the Heat took a commanding lead.

Now, they'll try to close this one out.

"We understand it's going to be a tough game," Wade said. "But we have the team and we have the guys that are capable of showing up and putting on a performance that we need to win the game.

"It's not going to be pretty, but that's not Miami Heat basketball anyway."

The Bulls dropped consecutive games only four times during the regular season and never lost more than two in a row. Their first three-game skid could not have come at a worse time.

"When you look at the score, 3-1, it looks bad," Chicago's Luol Deng said.

But he was quick to point out the games have been close.

That's one reason he insisted the Bulls are not out of it.

"I really believe we've got a group of guys that are going to keep on fighting," Deng said. "There's no quit in us. There's no quit in that locker room. It's really going to come down to the end of the game again."

LAKERS: The team reached a deal in principle with former Cavaliers coach Mike Brown to succeed Phil Jackson. Brown will get a four-year deal worth roughly $18 million.

With a strong interview last weekend, Brown jumped to the front of the line of candidates for the daunting challenge of succeeding the 11-time NBA champion Jackson with one of the NBA's iconic franchises.

Brown will be the 22nd coach of the Lakers, whose 16 NBA titles trail only the Boston Celtics' 17 in league history.

Although Kobe Bryant endorsed Jackson assistant Brian Shaw for the vacancy, Jim Buss — the Lakers' executive vice president of player personnel and the son of owner Jerry Buss — became intrigued by Brown after Saturday's interview.

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