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Game #58: Miami Heat (42-15) vs. Chicago Bulls (38-17)

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LeBron James is ready for his first visit to Chicago in a Heat uniform.
LeBron James is ready for his first visit to Chicago in a Heat uniform.

The Miami Heat get back to work tonight when they head up to Chicago for a second meeting with the up and coming Bulls.  The last time the Heat played against Chicago, both teams were a bit on the shorthanded side.  Miami was at a disadvantage because they had just lost LeBron James to an ankle injury, but they were also finishing up a 5-game road trip that proved to be quite tolling. 

To make matters worse, Chris Bosh would injure his ankle during the battle in Chicago.  The Bulls were playing without center Joakim Noah, who missed 30 games after having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb.  The Bulls still took care of the Heat, taking a big lead thanks to a mid-game 17-0 run and surviving a late Miami comeback.

Now both teams have their stars back and are making a final push to prepare themselves before the playoffs arrive.  Miami is hoping they will stay hot and overtake Boston for the top spot in the East.   Chicago is running away with the Central Division and looks to be a formidable opponent to whoever draws them in the postseason. 

GAME NOTES

  • Miami has won 11 of their last 12 games. 
  • The Bulls went 22-8 in the 30 games without Joakim Noah in the lineup. 
  • Chicago has won 7 straight at home, but are coming off a loss in Toronto last night. 
  • Opponents are shooting just 41.3% at the United Center. 
  • Udonis Haslem (foot), Mike Miller (head) and Dexter Pittman (knee) are out for the Heat.  James Jones (hip) is probable.

Tipoff from the United Center is set for 8pm.  The game will be nationally televised on TNT.