Heat vs. Bulls Game 3 final score: Heat hang on to defeat Bulls in Game 3, 104-94

Jonathan Daniel

The Bulls contained LeBron as long as they could, but it wasn't enough to pull off the upset. The Heat now lead the series, 2-1.

The Miami Heat held off a valiant effort from the Chicago Bulls, winning Game 3, 104-94, to take a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

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The game was tight right up to the fourth quarter. The Heat got a four-point lead with 8:37 left after a Chris Andersen jumper. The Bulls kept it close, never letting the deficit get larger than five points in the first three quarters, but their offense couldn't find enough consistency to pull off the upset. LeBron James scored 6 points in 60 seconds to effectively seal the game.

Despite another depleted roster, the Bulls hung with the Heat for most of the first half. Carlos Boozer started off hot, scoring 10 of the team's first 14 points, and the team has vastly improved their shooting, making 47.5 percent of their field goals in the first half. More importantly, they went back to the physical defense that won them Game 1, shutting down James and forcing the Heat to stay on the perimeter. James scored just 4 points in the first half.

Things were just as chippy as they were in Game 2, with multiple fouls and technicals. The most ugly incident happened in the second quarter, as Nazr Mohammed shoved James to the court. He earned an ejection for his efforts.

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The Bulls held a six-point lead at one point thanks to James and Dwyane Wade being non-factors, but Miami got impressive efforts from their bench, namely Norris Cole, who had 11 first-half points. The Heat led the Bulls, 52-50, at halftime.

The Bulls ripped off a 7-0 run at the start of the third quarter to get the lead back, thanks to Nate Robinson's 35-foot 3-pointer. But with the game as chippy as this one was, fouls were taking their toll. Belinelli got his fourth foul in the third quarter, while Boozer and Jimmy Butler had three.

Perhaps the best moment of the game came when the 5'9 Robinson flat-out rejected the 6'8 James:

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Things fell apart for the Bulls in the fourth quarter, as they couldn't make critical shots. Then, James woke up to ice things in the final minutes.

Cole finished with 18 points off the bench, helping Miami keep the game in hand with their stars scuffling. James led the team with 25 points and dished out 7 assists, but he had a poor shooting night, making just 6 of 17 shots from the field. Bosh knocked down 20 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. The Heat made 50 percent of their field goals.

Boozer led the Bulls with 21 points and Joakim Noah hauled in 11 rebounds. The Bulls' shooting was an improvement from their dismal Game 2 performance, but they still shot just 45.5 percent from the field.

Game 4 takes place on Monday at the United Center in Chicago.

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This story originally appeared on SBNation.com.

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