Game #20: Chicago Bulls (17-4) vs. Miami Heat (14-5)

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 27: Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat dunks past Tyson Chandler #6 of the New York Knicks during a game at American Airlines Arena. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Last season the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls were both teams that looked very different then they had the year before, and both teams were thought by many to be good enough to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. During the regular season, the Bulls set out to prove that if either of the teams were going to look the part, it be them.

Chicago looked like they had Miami's number during the regular season, winning all three games against the Heat and finishing the season with the top record in the East. That didn't mean much come playoff time though, as Miami bounced Chicago right out of the Eastern Conference Finals in five games.

This season the Bulls picked up right where they left off, jumping out to the top record in the East and holding the most amount of wins in the NBA. The Heat are right behind the Bulls in the East, and the matchup is one that will be highly anticipated anytime these teams play each other for the next several years to come. Even though media and fans are going to hype it to no extent, the stars of each team are playing it down.

LeBron James and Derrick Rose were both asked about how big of a game this was, and both responded with very similar answers, saying that it was just another game on the schedule. While that might be the answer that they, or most other players will give, I think we all know that there is a lot more to a Heat-Bulls game then just some other game. It's going to be that way for the next few years, just like the Heat-Knicks or Knicks-Bulls in the 90s was always a marquee matchup.

GAME NOTES

  • The Heat are 8-2 at home. Chicago is an impressive 8-3 on the road.
  • The Bulls originally drafted Norris Cole before trading his rights to Miami.
  • This is the first of four meetings between Chicago and Miami this season.
  • Last season the Bulls swept the regular season series against the Heat before losing in 5 games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • Miami's injury list is clean for the first time this season, though Dwyane Wade just returned from an ankle injury and is still being considered day-to-day.
  • As for the Bulls, Richard Hamilton (thigh), Taj Gibson (ankle), and Luol Deng (wrist) are going to be game-time decisions.

Tipoff from the AAA is set for an early 3:30pm. The game will be televised nationally on ABC.

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