Heat vs Bulls Preview
Get ready for some serious intensity in Chicago tonight as the Bulls and Miami Heat go head to head. This is one of the best matchup’s in the NBA, because there is some real hatred involved in the rivalry. The only thing keeping this game from being the top slate on the sports schedule today is the groin of Derek Rose, who is a game time decision.
The Heat will look to win their sixth straight over the Bulls, who hope to have Luol Deng back Wednesday night at the United Center.
Miami defeated Chicago in five games in last season’s conference finals, but the last two of the Heat’s wins in that series went down to the wire, with one of the games going to overtime. The last four regular-season meetings between these teams have been decided by a total of 12 points, so hold on to your seats tonight.
Miami won the only previous game against Chicago this season, 97-93 at home Jan. 29 behind 35 points from LeBron James.
Bosh and the Southeast Division-leading Heat (31-10) are 2 1/2 games behind the Bulls (35-9), who have won 10 of 11, for the top spot in the East. However, Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau believes his club is the one with more to prove.
The Bulls hope to have Deng back after he missed the last two games with a wrist injury. The small forward returned to practice Tuesday as he tries to play through torn ligaments.
The statuses of Richard Hamilton (shoulder) and reserve C.J. Watson (ankle) are also uncertain for the Bulls.
Chicago won both games Deng missed, including a 104-99 home victory over New York on Monday. Rose finished with 32 points, six rebounds and seven assists but also got hit with a $25,000 league fine for criticizing the officiating after the game.
Rose did not practice Tuesday, but Thibodeau said that was to give the reigning league MVP time to recover from the contact he absorbed against the Knicks and a minor car accident after his fine was assessed.
While Miami hopes to extend its recent dominance of the Bulls, it’s also trying to snap a three-game road losing streak.
After winning three in a row at home, the Heat failed to protect a 14-point halftime lead at Orlando on Tuesday and fell 104-98 in overtime. Dwyane Wade scored 28 points and Bosh added 23, but James was held to 19 – his fewest points in eight games – and scored just two points after the third quarter in true King James fashion. It was the second straight overtime game for the Heat, who defeated Indiana 93-91 on Saturday.