When looking ahead to this part of the schedule, we knew that it was going to be a major test for the Heat. They have already proven that they are more then capable of beating the teams they are ‘supposed to beat, which is evident by their 31-2 record against teams that are below .500. However, things haven't been as easy when facing off against the better teams in the NBA.
Beginning last Sunday when the Knicks came to town, Miami plays 11 consecutive games against teams that are not only above .500, but are all in position to make the playoffs. It was, and still is, a great way to gauge where the Heat are when compared to the better opponents that are out there. So far what it has proven is that Miami has the components it needs in order to succeed, but they need to be able to harness those skills and utilize them for a full 48-minutes.
Heading into today's matchup with the Chicago Bulls, the Heat has dropped the first 3 games of their 11-game ‘test'. The first two games Miami came out playing very well and had in control, but were unable to close out. As for the Spurs game...we all know how that one went. Now they get to play the Bulls for the 2nd time in as many weeks, and a win would could really help to get the ball back rolling in the right direction.
Miami's recent struggles, combined with the Bulls playing very well of late, have the two teams sitting next to each other in the standings, 3 games back of the 1st place Celtics. All season the Heat have struggled against the better point guards in the NBA, and Derrick Rose has certainly been no exception. In two games against the Heat this season, Rose is averaging 30.0 points on 41% shooting, adding 4.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists. He has also gone 15-of-16 from the charity stripe.
- This is the 3rd and final meeting of the season between Miami and Chicago. The Bulls have won both games by an average of 3.5 points.
- LeBron James has made just 2-of-15 from 3-point range over his last 5 games.
- Chris Bosh has 19 double double's on the season but has yet to record one against the Bulls.
- Mike Bibby is averaging 24.5 minutes in his 2 games with the Heat, but has only collected 7 points on 3-of-10 shooting, adding 5 rebounds and 6 assists. He is 1-for-7 from downtown and 0-for-2 from the foul line.
- Chicago has won 8 of their last 10 games while the Heat has lost 4 out of 5.
- Udonis Haslem (foot) and Dexter Pittman (knee) are out for Miami.
- The Bulls injury report is squeaky clean.
A couple of things unrelated to the game but that I wanted to mention. Carlos Arroyo, who was cut by the Heat on Tuesday, has agreed to sign with the Boston Celtics. Heat center Erick Dampier was fined 10k for his flagrant foul on the Spurs Tony Parker, but will not be suspended.
Tipoff from the AAA is set for 1pm and the game will be nationally broadcast on ABC. If you want to go to the game but don't have tickets, don't forget about Peninsula Is Mightier's partnership with TiqIQ that not only helps you get tickets right here on PIM but they also search through several ticket selling websites and finds you the best deals out there. Click here to see what's available.