Bulls one win away from Finals


X-factor: Mashburn doesn't get his turn

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Alonzo Mourning makes a promise. (Courtesy: NBA/NBC Sports)
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Phil Jackson says Chicago's defense was the key.
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Pat Riley compares the Bulls' defense to an amoeba. (Courtesy: NBA/NBC Sports)
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Riley admits that Game 3 was tough to take.
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Michael Jordan praises Ron Harper's defense. (Courtesy: NBA/NBC Sports)
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Scottie Pippen says denying 3-pointers was key. (Courtesy: NBA/NBC Sports)
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P.J. Brown says Chicago's defense has rushed Miami.
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Steve Kerr says the Bulls' defense helps their offense.
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Box score | Game recap | Game flow

MIAMI -- Michael Jordan scored 34 points Saturday as the Chicago Bulls stifled the Miami Heat 98-74 and took a commanding 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

The nightmare continues: Just when you though Miami's offense couldn't get any worse, the Heat committed 32 turnovers and tied a playoff record by making only 21 field goals.

No go for Zo: Alonzo Mourning took only four shots? No wonder Chicago outscored Miami 50-26 in the paint.

"We controlled everything from the opening tip," Jordan said. "Offensively, we were able to get what we wanted. Defensively, we were able to take them out of what they wanted to do."

Scottie Pippen added 21 points for the Bulls, who moved within one victory of their fifth appearance in the NBA Finals in the last seven years. Game 4 is Monday at Miami.

"We're going to win," Miami center Alonzo Mourning said of Game 4. "We're going to come ready. We will not play the way we played today."

Miami committed a whopping 32 turnovers -- nine by Mourning -- that led to 36 points for Chicago. The Heat also tied an NBA playoff record for fewest field goals with 21, which was one less than Jordan and Pippen combined.

"I've been at a lot of games, but I don't think I ever ...," Miami coach Pat Riley said, trailing off as he held his head in his hands. "This was probably the bottom for this team this year, as far as being totally embarrassed here at home. We're just simply succumbing to what happened out there."

Bulls shot chart
Chicago All-Stars Michael Jordan (23) and Scottie Pippen (33, above) shot a combined 22 for 41. Miami All-Stars Tim Hardaway (10) and Alonzo Mourning (33, below) were just 3 for 13.

Heat shot chart

Voshon Lenard scored 14 points and Mourning added 12 for Miami. Mourning was just one for four from the field, but he made 10 of 12 from the foul line.

The teams set an NBA record with only four players scoring in double figures. There have been six times when only five players scored in double figures, the last time on May 7, 1995, in a game between Houston and Utah.

Jordan was 14 for 25 from the field and Pippen was eight for 16. That was a vast improvement over Game 2, when Jordan was just four for 15 and Pippen was nine for 21, prompting them to give each other the nicknames "Doo-doo and (expletive)."

"We wanted to come out, both of us, and redeem ourselves," Jordan said after Saturday's game. "Our names have been changed back to our original names."

The Bulls held a 19-15 edge after one quarter and they broke the game open with a 11-2 run in the second period.

Jordan started the burst with a 3-pointer and Toni Kukoc hit a jumper to push Chicago's lead to 28-19 at the 8:39 mark. Jordan and Pippen scored before Dan Majerle sank two free throws to pull Miami within 11 points, 32-21.

Jordan capped the run with a jumper, staking the Bulls to a 34-21 advantage at the 6:50 mark. Miami came no closer than 10 points the rest of the half and Chicago led 47-34 at intermission.

The Bulls held Miami to 35-percent shooting (nine for 26) and forced 14 turnovers in the first half.

Ron Harper capped a 14-2 run with a 3-pointer, giving the Bulls their largest lead of the game at 68-41 with 3:43 to play in the third period. Miami responded with an 8-4 burst to make it a 23-point game after three quarters, 72-49.

"I thought they were going to come out and shoot a lot better in their building," Pippen said. "Our game plan was to get up on their shooters and not allow them to shoot beyond the 3-point line. Once we took that away from them, most of their game was gone."

Chicago's Brian Williams dunks one over P.J. Brown.

Miami made only four of 14 from 3-point range, as Tim Hardaway missed all four of his 3-pointers and Jamal Mashburn made one of five. The lone bright spot was Lenard, who made three of five from long range.

Chicago also misfired from 3-point range, making only one of 13, but the Bulls outscored the Heat 50-26 in the paint.

"We work very hard to try to get them the ball," Riley said of Mourning and Hardaway. "The Bulls aren't allowing Zo to catch it where he wants to catch it, and they've committed themselves to not letting Tim do anything."

Riley complained Friday that Jordan gets favorable treatment from the referees. Jordan took 16 free throws in Game 2, but he only took five in Game 3.

"I just played my game. I wasn't going to worry about his attempt to manipulate the referees," Jordan said of Riley. "I know this is a tactic a lot of coaches try to do, even Phil (Jackson). So for us to go out there and alter our game or for me to alter my game is not in the best interest of the Chicago Bulls."

It was a physical game, with Chicago's Dennis Rodman and Miami's P.J. Brown each drawing flagrant fouls. Brown delivered a pair of hard fouls in the paint, including a shot that leveled Pippen as he drove to the hoop.

In the fourth quarter, after drawing a foul on the fast break, Rodman ran by Majerle and elbowed the Miami swingman in the stomach. Majerle shoved Rodman before being restrained. Rodman drew a technical, his 14th of the playoffs, and maintained his streak of getting at least one in every game of the postseason.

Late in the game, Rodman hammered John Crotty in midair as the point guard drove to the basket. Crotty threw the ball at Rodman before Chicago's Brian Williams pulled him away.

"I'm not trying to frustrate these guys. I'm just going out there playing good, solid basketball," Rodman said. "The most important part of basketball is the mental aspect. I'm not a shooter. I'm out there to entertain the crowd and have a good time."

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