Matchup: Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat
Date/Time: April 14th, 1:00 pm EST
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The last time the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat got on the court together, it was the Bulls that were ending Miami’s 27-game winning streak, the second longest in NBA history. Now, the two meet again in South Beach for their final regular season meeting in what could be a precursor to a second round meeting in the postseason.
Chicago starts the weekend in the No. 6 slot for the playoffs, but it will ultimately move up to No. 5 if it can win out. The Bulls are a half game back of the Atlanta Hawks, but the two teams are even in the loss column coming into the final weekend of the regular season. There is a good chance that the boys from the Windy City are going to get into that No. 5 slot, which would setup a first round date with the Brooklyn Nets instead of the Indiana Pacers. The question is still in the Windy City as to when and if G Derrick Rose is going to come back from an ACL injury from last postseason. The 12-month barrier that was set after surgery is upon us, and we have been waiting desperately to see one of the superstars of the NBA get back in the fold. It doesn’t seem like Sunday is going to be the day that Rose returns. The better questions are whether F Taj Gibson or C Joakim Noah play, and it seems as though at this point, both are going to ere on the side of resting.
The Heat have been doing all sorts of resting of their players over the course of the last few weeks, as all three of G Dwyane Wade, F LeBron James, and C Chris Bosh have at least taken a few games off in preparation for the second season. All three were playing once again on Friday night against the Boston Celtics, who were also resting F Paul Pierce and C Kevin Garnett. As expected, James and Bosh both played limited minutes, as did G Ray Allen. Wade played 35 minutes for the game, but he wasn’t taxed all that much and only finished with 11 points. LeBron did score 20 and have nine assists and six boards in 29 minutes, showing that had this game mattered, he would have turned up with another triple-double. Instead, we saw a lot of F Rashard Lewis and G Norris Cole, who had 19 and 12 points respectively for the Heat. These two will inevitably play at least 20-25 minutes once again on Sunday along with F Chris Andersen, G Mario Chalmers, and F Mike Miller.
There seems to be a bit more motivation for Chicago to win this game than there is for Miami. The Heat do have a point to prove, as they did get beaten by the Bulls the last time out, and this is the type of team that could give them troubles in the second season, but we just don’t see them wanting to work that hard to win this one on Sunday. If the Bulls are even remotely close to being underdogs, we want them on our side. Chicago 99 – Miami 95
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.