Heat blast Bulls, take commanding 3-1 series lead

There were no ejections or physical altercations in Game 4, but it was another Miami Heat knockout.

Perhaps the short-handed Chicago Bulls have run out of gas and have no fight left.

LeBron James tallied 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in the Heat's 88-65 rout of the Bulls to take a 3-1 stranglehold in this Eastern Conference semifinal.

After decimating the Bulls 115-78 in Game 2, the Heat survived Game 3 and jumped out to an 11-2 start in this one and never looked back.

"For the most part, other than the turnovers, we played to our identity," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said.

The Bulls tallied a playoff franchise low in points and field-goal percentage (25.7 percent).

The Bulls also scored a franchise postseason-low nine points in the third quarter.

Miami can close out the series Wednesday in South Beach.

Following a 20-point, 19-rebound performance in Game 3, Chris Bosh was the only other Miami player in double figures with 14 points to go along with six rebounds and four blocks.

"He's giving us what we need," Spoelstra said of Bosh. "He's been aggressive and giving us that presence at the rim in a variety of different areas."

The Heat held a 36-20 points in the paint and 19-7 fastbreak points edge.

Carlos Boozer finished with 14 points and 12 boards, but was just 3-of-14 shooting for the Bulls, whose previous playoff franchise low in points (69) came against the Detroit Pistons in Game 1 of a 2007 Eastern Conference semifinal. Their previous low in field-goal percentage (31.1 percent) also came against the Pistons in Game 7 of the 1990 Eastern Conference finals.

"I thought in the first quarter we had some good ball movement, some open shots that we didn't make. I thought that took away from our defensive intesity," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said.

Nate Robinson was 0-for-12 and didn't score.

"He's a tough guy, he'll bounce back," Thibodeau said. "He didn't make shots tonight, but he's a shotmaker."

Forward Luol Deng and guard Kirk Hinrich were again unable to play for Chicago.

Deng underwent a spinal tap two weeks ago to rule out meningitis and has been slow to recover. He had complications from the procedure and tried to take part in Thursday's shoot-around but is still too weak to play. The 28-year-old also missed the first two games in Miami, as well as Games 6 and 7 in the first round against the Brooklyn Nets.

Hinrich hasn't played since Game 4 of the first round against the Nets because of a calf injury.

Chicago missed 11 of its first 12 shots from the field and the Heat jumped out to a 21-15 edge after a quarter of play. Bosh was 5-of-6 from the field and poured in 10 points in the first.

Miami began the second quarter on a 9-2 spurt to vault the visitors to a 13- point edge. Shane Battier and Ray Allen knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 30-17.

The Heat took a 44-33 cushion into the break and held the Bulls to 26.8 percent (11-of-41) shooting in the opening half. James scored 15 points, while Bosh added 12 in the first 24 minutes.

It only got uglier for the Bulls in the third when they made just two of their 13 shots in the stanza.

A 10-1 surge during the middles stages of the frame allowed the Heat to go on cruise control. Dwyane Wade had a pair of buckets during the swing, including a left wing jumper to conclude it and give Miami a 56-40 cushion.

Norris Cole swished a left wing triple at the buzzer to make it 61-42, and Miami led by as many as 26 in the fourth.

Game Notes

Cole, who was 1-of-2 from beyond the arc, made his first eight 3-pointers in the series ... Miami shot 48.5 percent (33-of-68) from the floor ... Both teams committed 17 turnovers.