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NBA: Miami 94, Chicago 91

MIAMI, May 15 (UPI) — Shane Battier ignited a fourth-quarter comeback Wednesday that pushed Miami into the Eastern Conference finals with a 94-91 win over Chicago.

The shorthanded Bulls gave the defending champion Heat a battle before coming up just short — missing a chance at overtime when both Nate Robinson and Jimmy Butler failed on 3-point attempts in the closing 15 seconds.

Miami eliminated the Bulls in five games, winning four in a row after enduring a stunning setback in the opening game of the conference semifinal series last week.

The Heat will take on either Indiana or New York in the conference finals. Indiana owns a 3-1 lead against the Knicks and will try to close out New York on Thursday.

Miami raced to a 20-4 lead in a bid to put away the Bulls early, but Chicago fought back thanks to a big game from Carlos Boozer.

The Bulls owned a 10-point lead during the latter stages of the third period and were in front by eight heading into the final quarter.

Battier then scored eight points during the first 3:30 of the fourth, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and connecting on 2-of-3 free throws after being fouled on a long-range attempt.

His outburst helped bring the Heat within two and Miami took the lead for good at 82-81 on a dunk by Norris Cole with 5:51 to play.

A foul shot from LeBron James gave the Heat a six-point cushion with 1:55 left, but Miami did not score another point. Chicago closed within three with 1:43 to go on a 3-pointer by Robinson. The teams combined to miss five shots from that point until the final buzzer.

James scored 23 points and Dwyane Wade, who had been questionable with a knee injury, added 18. Battier produced just nine points, but he played a key role in moving the Heat closer to another league title.

Boozer scored 26 points and added 14 rebounds, while Jimmy Butler chipped in 19.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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