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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bulls Stifle Heat to Jump Ahead, 3-0

MIAMI -- Michael Jordan scored 34 points and Scottie Pippen added 21 as the Chicago Bulls took a 3-0 lead in the National Basketball Association's Eastern Conference finals Saturday, moving within one win of the NBA Finals with a 98-74 victory.


The Bulls are looking for their fifth title in seven years. No team in the NBA has ever come back from a three-game deficit in the playoffs. Miami, 0-9 against Chicago in three playoff series, was scheduled to make the attempt in Game 4 here Monday.


Jordan and Pippen made fun of themselves after they played poorly in the Bulls' 75-68 victory Thursday, the lowest-scoring playoff game in modern NBA history.


Jordan was 14-for-25 Saturday after going 4-for-15 in Game 2, while Pippen improved from 9-of-21 to 8-of-16. Through three quarters, the dynamic duo actually outscored the entire Miami team, 51-49.


Chicago, which shot 36 percent in grinding out victories in each of the first two games, hit 45 percent of its shots.


The Heat, meanwhile, matched the NBA playoff record for fewest field goals in a game with 21, shot 38 percent and committed 32 turnovers. Miami isaveraging only 73 points in the series.


Miami stars Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway had especially rough days. Mourning had one basket and nine turnovers and Hardaway scored just six points. Voshon Lenard led the Heat with 14 points.


Heat coach Pat Riley complained Friday that Jordan gets favorable treatment from the referees -- an age-old complaint from opponents of the nine-time NBA scoring leader. Before Game 3, Jordan said of Riley, a marginal player in the 1960s: "I wish I could have played against him. I probably would have gotten 100 points.''


There was no chance of that Saturday, but Jordan did reach 20 midway through the second quarter. And he needed only one free throw to do it, going 9-of-12 from the field as the Bulls took a 36-23 lead.


Chicago made it 47-32 on two free throws by Dennis Rodman, who was fouled on a fast break by Dan Majerle. Rodman elbowed Majerle after the play and Majerle shoved Rodman. Both got technical fouls, meaning Rodman has received at least one technical in each of the Bulls' 11 playoff games.


The Bulls broke open the game with an 11-0 run midway through the third quarter, going ahead 68-41. Jordan dunked, made a short jumper and swooped in for a layup to start the surge. Ron Harper finished it with a layup and three free throws. Miami had four possessions during the run and turned the ball over on each.