Bulls vs. Heat Preview & Prediction

The Chicago Bulls are fighting to move up and grab the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Miami Heat are a game out of the eighth and final playoff spot.

Projected Starting Lineups

Chicago Bulls (46-32)

G Derrick Rose – 18.2 ppg, 5.0 apg

G Jimmy Butler – 20.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg

F Mike Dunleavy – 9.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg

F Pau Gasol – 18.5 ppg, 11.7 rpg

C Joakim Noah – 7.4 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 4.7 apg

Miami Heat (35-43)

G Goran Dragic – 16.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg

G Dwyane Wade – 21.5 ppg, 4.8 apg

F Luol Deng – 14.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg

F Udonis Haslem – 4.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg

C Hassan Whiteside – 11.2 ppg, 9.7 rpg

What to watch for:

How will Derrick Rose play?

Rose had a decent game in limited minutes in his return from minor knee surgery yesterday in Chicago's loss to the Orlando Magic, and the Bulls are hoping to see more progression from him the second night of a back-to-back. He'll be on a minutes restriction again, but if Rose can have another good game, the Bulls will be dangerous come playoff time.

Miami's Bench Production

The Heat are finally starting to get fully healthy again (Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts are still out for the season), but their bench is still one of the worst in the league. Miami's starters can challenge Chicago's, but they'll be at a disadvantage once the subs enter the game. If the Heat's bench can stay even with Chicago's when they're on the court, Miami will win this game.

Prediction: Bulls win 102-97

This game will be extremely close from start to finish with both teams fighting for playoff positioning, but Chicago's superior talent and depth will win out in the end.

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