NBA: Miami 81, Chicago 72

April 19, 2012 at 11:39 PM

MIAMI, April 19 (UPI) -- LeBron James scored 27 points and keyed a dominating closing stretch Thursday that brought the Miami Heat an 81-72 victory over Chicago.

With star Derrick Rose suffering from a sprained ankle and out of action for the 15th time in 18 games, the Bulls saw their lead over the Heat dwindle to 1 1/2 games in the fight for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Miami had only a two-point lead with 9 minutes to play but closed the game on a 15-6 run and limited the Bulls to 11 points in the fourth period.

James had 11 rebounds and six assists while Dwyane Wade added 18 points and Mario Chalmers contributed 16.

The Heat's Chris Bosh missed his second straight game. The team has not specified an injury for Bosh, saying he is being rested for the playoffs.

Chicago was led by John Lucas with 16 points. Joakim Noah had 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Bulls have won just seven of their last 13 games.

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