CHICAGO IL - FEBRUARY 24: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls drives against LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat at the United Center on February 24 2011 in Chicago Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Heat 93-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
If the Miami Heat want to continue their bid for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, a win on Thursday night over the Chicago Bulls is absolutely necessary. The Heat are currently 2½ behind the Bulls for 1st place in the East, and a win by Chicago will clinch the top seed and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs, as they will hold the tiebreaker over the Heat should the teams have the same record at the end of the regular season.
Both teams have been playing without their stars of late, as mild injuries and general pre-playoff rest have been taking priority over anything else as each team prepares for a lengthy postseason run. Miami has held Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh out of the lineup on Wednesday night, and its unknown if either, or both, will play tonight against the Bulls. Chicago played their last two games without Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, and their status for tonight is also unknown.
- The Heat are 26-4 at home. Chicago is 23-8 on the road.
- This is the fourth and final meeting between the Heat and Bulls this season.
- Miami won the first game before dropping the next two.
- The Heat have lost 5 of their last 6 regular season meetings with the Bulls.
- Both teams are playing on the second night of back-to-back games.
- Miami is 10-7 on the second night of back-to-backs.
- The Bulls are 11-5 on the second night of back-to-backs.
- Ronny Turiaf (hamstring) is questionable for the Heat.
- Chicago lists Luol Deng as day-to-day, and Derrick Rose has missed two straight games and 25 on the season.
Tipoff from the AAA is set for 8pm. The game will be broadcast nationally on TNT.