CHICAGO, May 26 (UPI) -- LeBron James led a stunning comeback in the final 4 minutes Thursday that sent the Miami Heat into the NBA Finals with an 83-80 victory over Chicago.
The Heat trailed by 12 points with 3:54 remaining, at which point James had missed nine shots in a row, but he scored nine of his 28 points down the stretch while Miami was going on a 19-4 run to end the contest.
Miami won the Eastern Conference finals in five games and will take on the Dallas Mavericks for the NBA title. The opening game of the championship series will be played Tuesday in Miami.
Chicago, which had the best regular-season record in the NBA, appeared headed for victory when Kurt Thomas ran down a loose ball and fed it to Ronnie Brewer for a 3-pointer that gave the Bulls a 76-64 cushion with 3:54 to go in regulation. The Heat, however, closed within eight points on a layup by Dwyane Wade with 2:36 left and James hit a 3-pointer with 2:08 remaining that cut the deficit to five.
After Derrick Rose hit a jumper for the Bulls, Wade produced a 4-point play on a long-range shot and free throw that lifted the Heat within three. Miami then tied it when James made a 3-pointer with 61 seconds remaining and his jumper with 30 seconds left gave the Heat their first lead since the game's early minutes.
Rose had a chance to tie it at the foul line with 27 seconds to play but he made only 1-of-2 and Chris Bosh converted two free throws for Miami with 17 seconds to go.
Needing a 3-pointer to force overtime, Chicago found the entire Miami team swarming around the arc and Rose's desperation attempt from long range was blocked at the buzzer by Udonis Haslem.
Until the late rally, Chicago's defense had been the key factor and the Bulls held Miami to 39 percent shooting for the game. Wade scored 21 points and Bosh had 20. Miami's three star players scored all but 14 of their team's points.
Rose, voted the NBA's most valuable player this season, scored 25 points while making only 9-of-29 shots. He hit just 35 percent of his attempts during the series.
This year's NBA Finals will be a rematch of the one played five years ago in which Dallas won the first two games and then lost the next four.