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Deng buoys Bulls in first half

CHICAGO -- The Miami Heat lead the Chicago Bulls 48-46 at halftime in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Bulls started the game shooting poorly from the field, but managed to hang in the game by dominating the Heat on the offensive boards. Luol Deng has followed up his stellar Game 1 performance with another solid night, scoring 11 points, including an almost three quarter court shot at the end of the first quarter. Joakim Noah has chipped in seven points, while Derrick Rose has nine. The Bulls set a physical tone early, but the tenor of the game has changed because the officials seem to be calling the game more closely than they did in Game 1. The Heat have been the early beneficiaries of the quick whistles, considering LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been to the line eight times in the first half. They combined for that many attempts in Game 1.

The Bulls have done a better job of defending Chris Bosh, who had 30 points in Game 1, but there is no question that James and Wade have made a concerted effort to get to the line more. They look more aggressive than they did in Game 1. Wade has 17 points. James has 14. Tom Thibodeau will certainly want his team to tighten up defensively on James and Wade in the second half, but he needs a few more people to make a shot. The Bulls are shooting just 38 percent from the field, while the Heat are shooting 52 percent.