The Miami Heat answered the type of question Friday night they rarely have to or want to answer:

What happens deep in the playoffs when neither LeBron James nor Dwyane Wade are at the top of their games?

Instead of bottoming out on a night when James was off most of the way and Wade largely passive, the Heat found a way to move to a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series with a 104-94 victory over the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.

With James off with his shot on a 6-of-17 night and Wade timid with his attempts in a 10-point effort, the Heat found their way through a game that was rugged early, intense late.

With Chris Bosh closing with 20 points and a career-playoff-high 19 rebounds, and with Norris Cole coming off the bench for 18 points, and one huge late 3-pointer, the Heat wore down the Bulls.

While off with his shot, James nonetheless filled out the box score, with 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

Game 4 is Monday at the United Center, before the series returns Wednesday to AmericanAirlines Arena, where the teams split the first two games.

With a Bosh layup, the Heat moved to an 85-80 lead early in the fourth quarter, their largest lead to that point.

But after a pair of Bosh free throws put the Heat up 90-83 with 3:17 to play, the same seven-point lead the Heat blow late in their Game 1 loss, Bulls guard Marco Belinelli came back with a 3-pointer to make it 90-86.

James, though, finally found his range for a 3-pointer that put the Heat up 93-86, only to see Carlos Boozer nail a jumper to draw Chicago within 93-88.

But that's when Cole improved to 3 of 3 on 3-pointers for a 96-88 Heat lead with 1:48 to play.

Later, after Bulls forward Jimmy Butler made a pair of free throws to draw Chicago within 96-90, James went hard to the rim and converted a 3-point play for a 99-90 Heat lead with 1:23 to play.

Dunks by Nate Robinson and Joakim Noah then drew Chicago within 99-94, but it proved too little too late.

Boozer led the Bulls with 21 points, with Noah adding 15 points and 11 rebounds, before fouling out with 16.6 seconds to play.