If recent history is of any indication, tonight’s matchup between two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference promises to be a close contest filled with intensity and playoff atmosphere.
The two rivals meet in another rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference finals as the two-time MVP LeBron James and the Miami Heat visit the reigning MVP, Derrick Rose, and the Chicago Bulls in tonight’s best game.
Last season, Chicago took all three meetings between the teams in the regular season by eight combined points, but Miami has since won five straight dating back to the playoffs when the Heat took the series by winning four straight times.
The teams met back in January 29 when the Heat defeated the Bulls 97-93 in a wild game that saw Derrick Rose miss two key free throws along with a potential game-typing shot in the final 23 seconds of regulation. LeBron James led the way with 35 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists including a memorable dunk against John Lucas, but he also had a poor final minute with two missed free throws and two horrible offensive possessions.
Despite a stellar overall season, Miami (31-10) has struggled on the road lately, dropping three straight games including a thriller against the Magic in overtime last night. They play one more game on the road against Philadelphia after tonight before heading home for another matchup with Orlando.
They will have their hands full in trying to keep the Bulls — the best rebounding team in the league with 45.9 — out of the paint.
Chicago (35-9) has won 10 of the last 11 games and continue to win with or without its key players. They hope to have Derrick Rose suit up despite having some bad luck in the past couple of days. He is a game-time decision.
Luol Deng will be available for tonight’s game. He had missed the last meeting between the teams due to the same wrist injury.