The top two seeds in the Eastern Conference, Miami and Chicago, will meet for the third time this season when they butt heads at the United Center this evening. Tonight’s showdown between the Heat and Bulls is scheduled for a 8:00pm ET start on TNT. NBA Odds have Chicago listed as a -1.5 against the spread home favorite; the Over/Under is set at 186.5 points.
These two teams last hooked up on March 14th at the United Center when the Derrick Rose-less Bulls produced a 106-102 to victory to even the season series at a game apiece. Chicago shot 52.6 percent from beyond the arc and 92.3 percent from the charity stripe in earning the key home win. Reserve guard John Lucas stepped up big in Rose’s absence, scoring 24 points (9-of-12) in 27 minutes off the bench. Five other Bulls scored in double figures as well, including Luol Deng (11) and Joakim Noah (14).
Chicago’s defense gave up an uncharacteristic number of points as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade scored 35 and 36 points respectively; however, the rest of Miami’s starting lineup contributed just 16 points in the loss.
Rose, who has missed 13 of the Bulls last 14 games (Chicago 9-4 during that stretch), is listed as a game time decision for tonight’s contest. The reigning MVP laced them up for the first time in 12 games on Sunday night, but his presence did not result in a win as the Bulls fell 99-100 to the surging Knicks in New York. Rose was again out of the lineup when Chicago downed the same Knicks 98-86 at the United Center on Tuesday night.
Miami, which sits three games back of Chicago in the Eastern Conference standings, has dropped two of its last three games, including its most recent one, a Tuesday clash with Boston at the AmericanAirlines Arena. The Celtics won the game 115-107 despite a 36 point, seven rebound, seven assist night from James. The loss marked the Heat’s fourth home setback of the season.
Chicago (44-14) comes into tonight’s game with a 23-6 record at the United Center; Rose was in the lineup in just two of the team’s six home court losses. Miami owns a 16-12 road record thus far and it has lost six of its last nine away outings.
Miami Heat vs Chicago Bulls 2012 NBA Odds: Provided by TopBet.com
Miami Heat +1.5 (-110), Over 186.5 (-110), +100 (Moneyline)
Chicago Bulls -1.5 (-110), Under 186.5 (-110), -120 (Moneyline)