He was all alone, wide open.
Then, in a flash, he was celebrating and so was just about everyone else in the arena.
Deng buried the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 16 seconds left and finished with 20 points, Rose scored 26 and the Chicago Bulls beat the Miami Heat 93-89 on Thursday night in a wild showdown between two of the Eastern Conference's top teams.
In a game that could have playoff seeding implications, the Bulls used a big third quarter to turn a nine-point halftime deficit into a 71-67 advantage, then watched a nine-point lead in the fourth evaporate into a four-point hole before pulling it out.
Deng's 3-pointer with 16 seconds left broke an 89-all tie and helped Chicago bounce back from a brutal loss at Toronto the previous night with the Bulls' 16th win in 21 games.
"If you watched last night's game and tonight's game, it just shows what we're capable of doing," Deng said, referring to a 118-113 loss in which the Raptors shot an opponent-best 58.1 percent.
"It makes it frustrating just knowing that if I would have made two or three of them in a close game like that it would have made a difference," Bosh said.
Adding to the misery is this: The bench got outscored 22-2 and the Heat got outrebounded 53-39 while losing for only the second time in 13 games. Both losses have come against teams also vying for the East's top seed -- Boston beat them on Feb. 13, and the Bulls now own the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Chicago beat Miami by three at the United Center last month, and this one was every bit as dramatic.
Rose and Deng led the charge in the third with 12 and 10 points, respectively, as Chicago outscored Miami 27-14, and the Bulls continued to pour it on early in the fourth.
The crowd was really rocking when Ronnie Brewer nailed a jumper to make it 80-71 with 8:26 left, but the Heat weren't finished.
They answered by reeling off 13 straight points to go up 84-80 with just under 5 minutes remaining.
Chicago's Kyle Korver nailed a 3-pointer from the right side at the shot-clock buzzer to make it a one-point game, and Rose's drive along the right side put the Bulls back on top 85-84 with 2:48 remaining. Deng then nailed a jumper from up top, and when Rose buried one right in front of the Heat bench to make it 89-84 with 1:06 left, the crowd just about came unglued.
Wade answered with a fadeaway jumper and James tied it at 89 on a three-point play with 36.8 seconds remaining. Rose was then isolated at the top with James, and when he saw Wade help on a drive, he kicked it out to Deng in the left corner for the go-ahead 3.
"Derrick has been making great plays all year," Deng said. "I just knew he was going to make the right play. D-Wade was so concerned with helping LeBron."
Wade said, "[Rose] made a helluva pass and Deng hit a good shot. I think in that case you make somebody else beat you."
James then threw up a wild 3 from the top of the key with Deng closing in, the ball hitting all glass. Korver got fouled and missed the first free throw before hitting the second to make it 93-89 with 9.4 seconds left.
"It just lets people know that we can compete with some of the best teams in the NBA," Rose said.
The wild game came after a somewhat uneventful afternoon.
While the Eastern Conference saw some big moves leading up to Thursday's deadline, the Heat and Bulls stood pat.
"At the end of the day, in certain situations, we thought it was too rich to get marginally better," said Bulls GM Gar Forman, who still has about $2.9 million in salary-cap room.
James didn't seem too offended that Bosh and Juwan Howard backed Rose for MVP. "The award isn't named after myself," the two-time reigning MVP said. He added, "D-Rose is having an unbelievable season. He's doing everything and more to help his team." Howard endorsed Rose for MVP during an interview on Chicago's ESPN1000 on Wednesday, and Bosh did the same at the morning shootaround, saying "Looking at their record and how improved they are as a team and how much improved he is as a player, I think it's close. But I think I would give it to Derrick if I were a voter. For what it's worth, Wade endorsed James, saying, "I'm going to be biased and choose my teammate." ... Miami's Mike Miller stayed home with an ear infection. ... The Bulls and Heat play one more time a week from Sunday in Miami.
Win 15 in a row? Check. Build the league's best defense? Yup. Take down the defending champs? Done. For Boston, it's a recipe that adds up to a new No. 1.
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