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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, April 17, 2006

Chicago tops Heat to make postseason

Associated Press

MIAMI Luol Deng got a nice gift for his 21st birthday. He's headed to the playoffs.

Deng scored 17 of his 26 points in the first half to spearhead the Bulls' rally from an early 15-point deficit, as the Bulls beat the Miami Heat, 117-93, yesterday to clinch an Eastern Conference postseason berth.

"This was his present," Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich said.

Chicago could still finish in a number of different spots on the playoff bracket.

Chicago's win not only spoiled Miami's home finale, it eliminated any hope Orlando had of sneaking onto the East's playoff bracket. Later yesterday, Philadelphia was ousted from the playoff picture when Washington beat Cleveland and secured its own postseason berth.

Only the top four seeds Detroit, Miami, New Jersey and Cleveland are set for the East playoffs. The rest of the East field will be filled by Washington, Indiana, Milwaukee and the Bulls, but the full seeding structure probably won't be known until the regular season ends Wednesday.

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