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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 26th (All times eastern)

Miami Heat (38-33) at Chicago Bulls (34-38), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The playoff-hopeful Chicago Bulls will resume a three-game homestand Thursday versus the Miami Heat at the United Center.

Chicago is clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and opened the residency with a 99-91 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday. Kirk Hinrich stepped up for an injured Derrick Rose by scoring 24 points and handing out eight assists for the Bulls, who are one game behind the Detroit Pistons for the seventh seed in the conference and 2 1/2 games ahead of the Charlotte Bobcats.

Rose did not play because of a wrist injury and both X-rays and an MRI revealed no structural damage. Ben Gordon notched 19 points, Tyrus Thomas added 18 and 12 rebounds, John Salmons netted 16 points and Joakim Noah ended with 15 points and 10 rebounds in a winning effort.

The Bulls will also host the Indiana Pacers and are 22-12 in the Windy City this season. Rose is questionable for this evening.

Miami is fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, but the Philadelphia 76ers are only a half game behind in the sixth spot. The Heat had a two-game winning streak stopped with a 90-88 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Dwyane Wade recorded 21 points and Udonis Haslem chipped in 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Heat, who have lost four of their last six games. Jermaine O'Neal had 13 points and rookie Michael Beasley posted 10 points and eight boards in defeat. The Heat fell to 13-22 away from South Beach this season.

The Heat have won the first three matchups with Chicago this season and are searching for their first series sweep since the 2003-04 campaign. Miami has won four straight overall, including a 130-127 double-overtime thriller on March 9 thanks to Wade's three-pointer at the buzzer. Wade had 48 points.

These two teams have split the last 16 meetings at Chicago.

03/26 10:36:38 ET


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