by Tomas Lopez
The Miami Heat’s winning streak has reached 27 games and the host Chicago Bulls will take their swipe at ending it on Wednesday. Chicago defeated the Heat in Miami on Jan. 4 but suffered a 19-point home loss to the Heat on Feb. 21. Miami is six games behind the record set by the 1971-72 Lakers and has won 13 road games during the streak. The Bulls have lost 13 of their last 22 games.
Miami hopes to have guard Dwyane Wade back in the lineup after he missed the previous two games due to an ailing knee. The Heat continue to say breaking the Lakers’ streak isn’t a focus but expect that tune to change if Miami wins at San Antonio on Sunday to push the streak to 30. Point guard Derrick Rose remains sidelined for the Bulls, who are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, percentage points ahead of the Atlanta Hawks. Chicago is 2 1/2 games behind the fourth-place Brooklyn Nets.
Miami Heat (56-14): Wade underwent an MRI exam on his right knee and no structural damage was found. Still, the All-Star guard is concerned as he wants to feel fully healthy when the playoffs arrive. “Some days it feels better than others,” Wade said. “I’ve dealt with certain things. I know how the body works. Once you start compensating for something, you mess up another area. And I don’t need that going down the stretch. We don’t need that as a team.” Forward LeBron James is averaging 27 points, 8.1 rebounds and eight assists during the 27-game winning streak.
Chicago Bulls (38-31): Center Joakim Noah (foot) could miss his third consecutive game and his injury came after a superb three-game stretch. Noah averaged 16 points, 10.3 rebounds and went 21-of-28 from the field prior to being sidelined. Nazr Mohammed, who has averaged 8.5 rebounds in the two games Noah has missed, would again draw the start and forward Taj Gibson (12 points and 11 rebounds in Sunday’s victory over Minnesota) will also see time in the middle. Guard Marco Belinelli (abdominal strain) is a game-time decision and Jimmy Butler will start if he can’t go. Butler had 20 points and nine rebounds against the Timberwolves.
1. The teams have split the last six regular-season meetings.
2. The Heat have recorded at least 20 assists in 22 straight games, tying the franchise mark set during the 1990-91 campaign.
3. Bulls PG Nate Robinson has scored 20 or more points in three of the last five games.
NBA Basketball Prediction: Heat 95, Bulls 88.
chicago bulls - derrick rose - dwyane wade - jimmy butler - joakim noah - lebron james - marco belinelli - miami heat - nate robinson - nazr mohammed