Tonight at 8PM, the Miami Heat will face the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago, IL. This will be the third of four games between Miami and Chicago this season. Miami won the first on January 25th, 89-84 in Chicago, then the second by a 129-111 score on March 1st back in Miami. They'll close the (regular) season series on April 7th, back in AmericanAirlines Arena.
Miami is playing in the second game of a three-game road trip. They started out with a 114-108 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. They'll head back to Miami after playing the Toronto Raptors tomorrow night.
Chicago is home for a single game. They'll hit the road to play the Toronto Raptors on Monday and the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.
The last time Miami played Chicago, on March 1st, resulted in a 129-111 Heat victory behind a 67.5% shooting performance which ranked as the best in franchise history. All eight Miami players shot above 50%, led by Hassan Whiteside's 26 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocked shots. Then-recent addition Joe Johnson scored 24 with five boards and four assists, and Luol Deng had 20 with four rebounds. Dwyane Wade scored 18 with seven helpers. Derrick Rose led seven Bulls in double figures with 17 points.
The game felt effortless offensively. We're not calling specific play calls to say, `OK, this is for you, you get your shot.' It's five-man basketball, guys are making the right play and if you see somebody open you follow the fundamental law of basketball and throw it to them. - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra
Miami's last time out, on Wednesday, would see them drop a tightly-contested matchup to the Milwaukee Bucks, 114-108. The Bucks were led by Giannis Antetokounmpo (24 points, seven rebounds, six assists), Jabari Parker (23 points), Khris Middleton (22 points, eight assists, seven rebounds), and Miles Plumlee (18 points, four rebounds). Hassan Whiteside led Miami off the bench with 23 points, 13 boards and three blocks, while Luol Deng scored 20 with 11 rebounds.
I felt we didn't play our best game. We took a lead and had control of the game. Then, it just went another way after that. - Wade
Chicago lost to the San Antonio Spurs last night, 109-101 despite three players with over 20 points. Pau Gasol had 21 with 12 rebounds and four helpers, Derrick Rose scored 21 with six assists, and Etwaun Moore ha 20 with six rebounds and four assists. Kawhi Leonard scored 29 with seven rebounds to lead San Antonio, while LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 with 10 boards.
We got plays where we didn't box out and they pitched it back up for open shots. Just communicating. Communication has been key the entire year and that's something we didn't go out there and do tonight. - Rose
GameTime: 8PM, NBA TV, NBA TV Canada, WGN-TV, FS-SUN
All-Time Head-to-Heat: Miami is 46-55 against the Bulls all-time, their third-worst record against any Eastern Conference team.
Miami Heat: 37-27, .578, on pace for 47-35, first in the Southeast Division (by a game-and-a-half ahead of the Atlanta Hawks), fourth in the Eastern Conference, ninth in the NBA. Last Five: W-W-W-W-L. Playoff Odds: 97.5%
Chicago Bulls: 32-31, .508, on pace for 42-40. fourth in the Central Division, ninth in the Eastern Conference (a half game behind the Detroit Pistons), tied for 15th in the NBA (with the Dallas Mavericks). Last Five: L-L-L-W-W. Playoff Odds: 37.1%
Miami Heat: Chris Bosh (blood clots) and Tyler Johnson (Shoulder) are out until further notice.
Chicago Bulls: Cameron Bairstow (back) may play tonight. Jimmy Butler (knee) won't play until next week, and Joakim Noah (shoulder) is out for the rest of the season.
Probable Starting Lineups
PG - Goran Dragic
SG - Dwyane Wade
C - Amar'e Stoudemire
SF - Joe Johnson
PF - Luol Deng
PG - Derrick Rose
SG - Tony Snell
C - Pau Gasol
SF - Mike Dunleavy
PF - Taj Gibson
Dwyane Wade needs just 52 more points to pass the 20,000 plateau. Tune in tonight, just prior to tipoff here at HHH for the live gamethread.