Game 44: Chicago Bulls (25-18) versus Miami Heat (23-21)
Location: United Center – Chicago
Time: 7:00 p.m. central
TV: Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Fox Sports Sun
The Bulls and Heat will meet up for the first time this regular season on Monday night.
The Bulls currently sit at No. 4 in the East with a record of 25-18. They failed to hit the century mark in their win over the Cavaliers Saturday night after scoring 100-plus points in their previous three games; however, the Bulls are still averaging 101.7 points per game.
The Heat aren’t too far behind with an average of 95.5 points per game, though. That being said, the Bulls will need to step up their defense — just like they did against the Cavaliers — in order to solidify a win because the Heat very well could take this game, especially when considering how inconsistent the Bulls have been this season.
Matchup of the Game
Jimmy Butler versus Dwyane Wade
Wade may not be the Heat’s leading scorer at 18.1 points per game or even the top shooting guard in the East, but he garnered enough votes to be the East’s starting shooting guard.
This matchup between Butler and Wade won’t only be a battle of the starting two guards, though. It will also be a battle of former Marquette players, so that, too, adds an extra factor of excitement to an already anticipated one.
Jan. 23: Bulls defeat Cleveland Cavaliers, 96-83
From our the “Quick Take” of our Fast-Break Recap:
The Bulls’ defense helped them end the first quarter with the lead while limiting the Cavaliers to just 14 points. The Cavaliers responded with a 25-point second quarter, but it wasn’t enough to slow the Bulls down — at one point in the quarter, the Bulls led by nine points. The Cavaliers’ struggles from the free throw line — they missed all of their free throws in the first half — combined with their absolute lack of bench scoring in the first half made it easier for the Bulls to maintain their lead.
By the third quarter, the Cavaliers were still putting up a good fight, but the Bulls’ defense was still going strong. Then Nikola Mirotic got going, scoring nine points in the third quarter to help the Bulls get out to a 72-58 lead heading into the fourth.
The Bulls gave up 25 points to the Cavaliers in the fourth quarter, besting their own 24, but their previous defense helped them build a lead great enough to cushion such play and stop an attempted-LeBron James takeover from being effective.
Jan. 22: Heat lose to Toronto Raptors, 101-81
The Heat extended their losing streak to four games with a loss to the Raptors Friday night. The Raptors put themselves in a good position to win after scoring 60 points in the first half while the Heat were only able to muster up 44 points. The Raptors slowed down from there, scoring 41 points for the rest of the game, but it still bested the Heat’s 37 points.
In the end, what made the biggest difference was the Raptors’ 3-point shooting. The Heat had 33 made field goals on the night, and the Raptors had 35, but 13 of those were 3-pointers that helped the Raptors get out to a large lead.
Mike Dunleavy (back) and Joakim Noah (shoulder) are still out, and Kirk Hinrich will also remained sidelined for his fifth-straight game. E’Twaun Moore will join them per the Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson.
Moore out vs. Heat. Lot of Aaron Brooks tonight. Hinrich out but will travel on trip.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 25, 2016
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.