Found April 11, 2012 on
Coming off their worst defensive effort since LeBron James and Chris Bosh brought their talents to South Beach to join forces with Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat need a victory for any realistic chance to claim the Eastern Conference's top seed.
The Chicago Bulls have done quite well maintaining that position despite Derrick Rose being slowed by injuries as role players have consistently stepped up in his absence.
The Heat's talented trio comes to the United Center for a showdown Thursday night versus the Bulls, who are uncertain if the league's reigning MVP will be unavailable for the 14th time in 15 games.
Miami (40-16) is three games behind Chicago (44-14) with two games in hand and should finish no worse than second in the East. While the teams play again April 19 in Miami, the Bulls know they can significantly improve their chances of being the No. 1 seed with a win.
"It's a big game because of the team they have, the record they have and we're trying to fight for the top seed in the East, so it's a big game to determine who gets that top seed in the East," guard C.J. Watson said.
Additionally, the Heat have fallen off the pace recently and split their last 10 games. They also were shockingly exposed defensively in a 115-107 home loss Tuesday night to Boston.
The Celtics shot 60.6 percent, the best any opponent has put forth against the Big 3. More disturbing for Miami is three of the nine worst shooting percentages allowed in the 138 games since James and Bosh were acquired have come in these past 10 games.
"None of us were expecting that," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "To give up 115 points on our home floor, that's not our style. And we're being made to feel uncomfortable right now. That's really the residual of the last three weeks or so."
In the last 10 games, the Heat have yielded an average of 95.8 points on 47.3 percent shooting, the latter notably higher than their season mark of 43.2 percent.
The lack of defense was the primary reason Chicago defeated Miami 106-102 on March 14 as Rose watched due to a groin injury. John Lucas scored 24 points off the bench as six players scored in double figures for the Bulls, who made 10 of 19 from 3-point range.
Rose currently has a sprained right ankle suffered in Sunday's 100-99 overtime loss at New York - his only action since March 12. Despite practicing before Tuesday's 98-86 win over the Knicks, coach Tom Thibodeau left out his star guard.
"I just think it was the smart thing to do in this situation," Thibodeau said. "If we're going to err, we're going to err on the side of caution. He wanted to play and we felt it was best that he didn't."
While replacing Rose's 23.0 points per game presents a challenge, the Bulls are 16-7 without him, and Thibodeau has many players capable of doing so any given night. On Tuesday, Richard Hamilton became the fifth Bull in the 14-game span Rose has battled injuries to reach the 20-point mark, scoring 18 in the third quarter.
"That's what I've been doing my whole career," said Hamilton, who has been limited to 20 games due to injuries. "But on this team, I've got to pick my moments. There are so many guys on this team that can score."
Wade, a Chicago native, scored 36 in last month's loss while James added 35. Wade has three consecutive 30-point games in the regular season at the United Center, but the Bulls have won all three.
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WHAT I MEANT WAS...
The Heat star took to Twitter to clarify comments he made about how he believes athletes who compete in the Olympics should be financially compensated.
MIAMI- Dwyane Wade is set to return to the Heat’s roster tonight against the visiting Boston Celtics. Less than two weeks ago, the Celtics put a hurting on the Heat and this go-around Miami predicts that it will be a different ball game.
“We’ll be better prepared,” LeBron James said. “They beat us. They dominated us in that game. But we’ll be better prepared.”
Heat guard Dwyane Wade plans to play Tuesday night when Miami hosts the Boston Celtics to close a five-game homestand.
Wade did not play Sunday in Miami's 98-75 win over Detroit because of right ankle soreness. He worked out with the Heat at practice Monday, staying afterward to do extra shooting and pronounced himself ready to play.
It's the start of an important stretch...
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade clarified comments that he was seeking to be paid to play in the Summer Olympics in London.
Wade, who was quoted Wednesday as saying that he believes players "should be compensated" for the demands of being an Olympian, said he was responding to a question and never said he wanted to be paid to play.
In a series of posting on his Twitter account...
NO FREE RIDE
Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen both think they should get paid for representing the U.S. in the Olympic Games.
Just a day after stating that he felt Olympic basketball players should be paid, creating a fascinating national debate about the essence of the Olympics, Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade retracted his statement on Thursday, saying, “I do not want to be paid to go to the Olympics.”
But what do you think? Should Olympic US basketball stars get paid for the time they put...
MIAMI -- If the Miami Heat want the No. 1 seed in the East, they better plan on winning Thursday night in Chicago. If not, they can start talking about how it really doesn't matter.
Then again, they already are talking that way.
"I was the No. 1 seed for two straight years in Cleveland and I keep telling you guys that we didn't win (the East)," Heat forward LeBron...
As a symbol of what has made Kevin Garnett so great, there was no moment more instructive than one that came midway through the fourth quarter on Tuesday. Chris Bosh sealed off Garnett in the post, received a pass from Dwyane Wade and scored a simple layup. Garnett grabbed the ball out of the net and angrily bumped the ball against his head before inbounding it to Rajon Rondo, muttering...
'I Touched Peskys Pole'
A.B. This sums up how I feel about Red Sox ownership recently.
They are so caught up with promoting the anniversary, selling coffee table books & bricks and expanding globally with the likes of Liverpool and Lebron James to pay attention to the details.
And while there is no doubt John Henry has never touched a brick in his life and would not be...
Don’t you think NBA players get paid enough? Now a couple of NBA players think they should get paid for the Olympics. I could see if they are the lower level NBA players, but the best NBA players play in the Olympics. These players already make millions of dollars, they don’t need more money for competing for their country.
Boston Celtics star Ray Allen is one...
College Basketball Stars, Take Your TimeWhen LeBron James decided to skip college and go to straight to the NBA, it was obvious he was ready to be an elite player in the NBA and be the face of the franchise of the team that would end up drafting him. Can you say the same thing about a guy like Sebastian Telfair? Although he is still playing in the NBA, he never came close to being...
The Miami Heat's bid to earn the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed took a major hit with a tough loss to the NBA's top team.
They'll have a good chance to bounce back against the league's worst club.
The Heat look to avoid their first three-game losing streak in three months by sending the visiting Charlotte Bobcats to their 15th consecutive defeat Friday night...
8 a.m.: The Heat are expected to be at full strength when the Celtics try to make it two wins in a row against the stars from South Beach on Tuesday. Dwyane Wade, who missed Sunday's game with a sore ankle, should be back in the lineup when the Heat do what they do best: play at home. The Heat (40-15) own the NBA's best home record at 24-3, so the Celtics (32-24) will need...