Heat-Bulls Preview

The Associated Press

Riding a season-high win streak, the front-running Miami Heat are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the Eastern Conference.

The Chicago Bulls, meanwhile, are just looking to win back-to-back games for the first time this month.

The Heat are on the verge of their first nine-game winning streak in a year, but they'll have to defeat the Bulls on the road in the regular season for the first time in almost three years Thursday night.

Miami (37-14) has built a five-game lead on second-place New York in the race for the East's top seed, and the club is showing every indication it can widen the gap further as it bids to repeat as NBA champion.

The Heat have won eight games in a row, averaging 107.6 points on 51.4 percent shooting - 39.8 from behind the arc. They last won nine in a row from Feb. 10-March 1, 2012.

A superb fourth quarter Wednesday got them closer to matching that run. Miami opened the final period by scoring the first 13 points to erase a 10-point deficit and outscored Atlanta 40-17 in the final 12 minutes of its 103-90 win.

"We don't win games in 12, 24 minutes, 36 minutes," All-Star forward LeBron James said. "We've got to take 48 minutes. It was a good test for us coming out of the break.

"It took us a little while to get into our offensive rhythm."

The Heat tend to struggle offensively with the Bulls (31-22), scoring 91.0 points per game while dropping six of the last eight regular-season meetings, including a 96-89 home defeat on Jan. 4. They've lost nine of the past 11 visits to Chicago, last winning during the season on March 25, 2010, but did win twice at the United Center in the 2011 conference finals.

James has averaged 32.6 points over his last 17 games there - including the playoffs - and he scored 30 against them Jan. 4.

It seems likely he'll be in for another strong performance since he's averaging 31.0 points on 67.2 percent shooting while sinking 15 of 30 from long range to spur the eight-game winning streak.

Chris Bosh may be looking for some improvement after making 2 of 10 from the field to finish with six points and six rebounds against the Hawks. He was better against the Bulls last month, getting 14 points and five boards.

Chicago is looking to win back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 28 and 30 after emerging from the break to beat New Orleans 96-87 on Tuesday.

"We all needed a little break," said forward Carlos Boozer, who had 17 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. "(We needed to) get away from it, get rejuvenated, get recharged, especially mentally. Obviously, physically, too. We had a lot of guys who were banged up. Some of us are still banged up, but we're playing through it."

The Bulls are still hoping to have Derrick Rose back from last season's left knee injury in time for the stretch run to the playoffs.

Boozer, though, feels they're doing just fine.

"We're a complete team," he said. "We've got great players at each position."

Boozer happens to be one of them, and he managed 27 points and 12 rebounds in the latest meeting with the Heat. However, he's averaged 12.3 points and 9.5 boards over the last four home matchups - all Bulls wins.

Luol Deng, the team leader with 16.8 points per game, had only six last month versus the Heat after going 2 for 9 from the floor.

  • A Redskins Coach Exposed His Wiener To Fans When He Whipped It Out To Pee On The Sideline

    One Redskins coach, however, decided to go full Nick Novak and pee on the sideline during Washington’s game on Sunday against Detroit. Ben Kotwica, Washington’s special teams coordinator, grabbed a cup, walked away from the action, and went to the bathroom. If you’d like to see the uncensored picture, Deadspin has your back.

  • Gilbert Arenas -- Here's My $111 Million NBA Contract ... Take a Look! (DOCUMENT)

    1 10/25/2016 12:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF Ever wonder what an $111 million NBA contract looks like? Well, here you go ... courtesy of Gilbert Arenas. The ex-NBA star filed the complete 2008 contract he signed with the Washington Wizards in his family law case ... a contract which was supposed to pay $111 mil over 6 years. As Arenas put it, "Amnesty kicked in" -- and the payouts were stretched over 8 years instead. His final installment will hit his bank account on Oct. 31st. Of course, Arenas -- who made more than $160 MIL during his career -- now says with no more NBA money coming in, he can't afford to keep his kids in private school. The contract spells out exactly how much Gilbert got paid every

  • Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh says replay decision was the ‘worst call he’s ever seen’

    Jim Harbaugh has been known for using a bit of hyperbole from time to time but it sounds as though he was really, really, really upset at a call in the final few minutes of No. 2 Michigan’s 41-8 win over Illinois on Saturday. Wolverines quarterback John O’Korn had completed a third-and-nine pass to Drake Harris that officials had marked short of the first down by nearly two yards. Harbaugh quickly challenged the spot but Big Ten replay officials upheld the call to force a fourth down decision that was a little longer than it should have been according to the coach. “I’ve never seen a worse call in the game of football,” Harbaugh said at his Monday press conference. “My understanding of the rules

    NBC Sports: CollegeFootballTalk
  • Ryan Miller slams goaltending equipment criticism: 'I’m inside the rules'

    Vancouver Canucks netminder Ryan Miller still has hard feelings over how he has been portrayed in the debate over the size of goaltending equipment. Last season, TSN’s Ray Ferraro pointed out how Miller and Carey Price wear the same size pant even though Price is much heavier than the 168-pound Miller.

    Puck Daddy
  • JGR juggernaut’s toughest challenges could come from within

    TALLADEGA, Ala. — Car owner Joe Gibbs says it gets easier for his team now. Really. All four Joe Gibbs Racing cars advanced to the Round of 8 Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Never has an organization held half the remaining eight spots in the Chase since the elimination-style format debuted in 2014. “I think from here on out, it’s pretty easy,’’ Gibbs said of managing four teams as they race for a title. “Everybody is geared up and is going for a win. That’s the game plan.’’ In others words, it should be just like what it has been all season. “We compete hard,’’ Edwards said of racing teammates in the upcoming round. “We work hard beforehand to help each other prepare. We battle hard on the

    NASCAR Talk
  • Cris Cyborg No Longer Believes Ronda Rousey Fight Will Ever Happen

    When it was announced that former women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey was returning to the Octagon on Dec. 30 against current titleholder Amanda Nunes, UFC president Dana White stated that if Rousey wins, there would eventually be a super-fight between her and Cris “Cyborg” Justino. “Everyone wants the biggest women’s fight in the Octagon ever to happen, but Dana cannot do this because, not because he doesn’t want (it), but probably because he cannot force Ronda Rousey to fight, the same way he cannot force Conor McGregor to fight Jose Aldo again. “I don’t think he can force Ronda Rousey to fight.

    MMA Weekly
  • Cubs loving Jonathan Toews outed as White Sox fan by Kris Versteeg

    The Chicago Cubs are seeking their first World Series championship in 108 years. “Cleveland Indians fans”) is pretty much pulling for the Cubs to break several curses to Fly The ‘W’ for the title. According to Kris Versteeg, former Chicago Blackhawks winger and current Calgary Flames player, Toews is a sock in Cubs’ clothing.

    Puck Daddy
  • Golden girl Tina Maze quits skiing

    2-time Olympic champion Tina Maze is hanging up her race boots at 33 years of age. Christina Macfarlane meets the Slovenian star in Sölden, Austria.

  • NFL Power Rankings - Seahawks stay put

    Yahoo Sports' Frank Schwab explains why there's still plenty of potential for the Seattle Seahawks once they get healthy.

    Yahoo Sports Videos
  • Wow! A.J. Green makes an unbelievable catch on a Hail Mary

    Hail Marys are always pretty cool, but Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green made one of the greatest catches you’ll see on one. At the end of the first half, Andy Dalton heaved one to the end zone. It was the same scrum in the end zone we’ve seen for most other Hail Mary throws, with everyone going up at once.

    Shutdown Corner
  • NBA Power Rankings: Week 1

    When you realize that every other player on your fantasy football team is injured, then you know the NBA is about to begin. A ton of fantasy drafts will take place on Monday with the season tipping off the following day, but if you bought the draft guide and have been keeping up with Rotoworld’s player news feed, then you have nothing to worry about because you’re going to have a huge advantage over your competition.

  • Bagpipe Monday: Notre Dame’s Recruiting Problem

    The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have several big problems that need solved, but one that sticks out- that ALWAYS sticks out, has to do with recruiting. The problem with that statement is that it is a generality, and generally speaking, Notre Dame doesn’t have a recruiting problem. It certainly isn’t 2-5 against a soft schedule awful, so people’s case against coaching can probably be strengthened here, but there is a problem not seen in those rankings (which are generally viewed as weak by Notre Dame fans). Elite defensive linemen and safeties seem to look at Notre Dame’s virtually open positions (meaning: there is playing time to be had- lot’s of it) and run away with their hair on fire rather than attract these kids to Notre Dame.

    One Foot Down
  • Chelsea rout Manchester United 4-0 to ruin Jose Mourinho's return (Video)

    Jose Mourinho accomplished something on Sunday that he was incapable of doing last season as Chelsea manager: motivate Chelsea’s players. The return of the Special One to Stamford Bridge – for the first time since being fired last December – was all the inspiration the Blues needed as they rampaged to a 4-0 Premier League victory over Mourinho’s listless Manchester United. It took just 30 seconds for Chelsea to grab the lead.

    FC Yahoo
  • Long: Sunday drive right move for three of JGR cars

    It worked just as Joe Gibbs Racing planned. With three JGR cars not needing a top-20 finish to clinch a spot in the Round of 8, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch fell to the back Sunday before the green flag at Talladega Superspeedway and stayed there until the checkered flag. “The easiest thing in the world is to just say, ‘Hell with it, we’re going to go race, we’re going to do everything we can and not worry about it,’ but that’s foolish,’’ Edwards said after finishing 29th, sandwiched between Kenseth (28th) and Busch (30th). Kenseth, Edwards and Busch joined teammate Denny Hamlin, who had to race his way into a transfer spot with a third-place finish, as among the eight drivers left competing for the Sprint Cup title.

    NASCAR Talk
  • Circuit of The Americas announces attendance record of 269,889

    AUSTIN, Texas – As the United States Grand Prix comes to a close here shortly, Circuit of The Americas has rebounded from the rain-drenched 2015 USGP weekend in the best way possible: with a new attendance record in its fifth year hosting the FIA Formula 1 World Championship. Buoyed in large part by last night’s Taylor Swift concert, but also with near perfect weather in Austin throughout the weekend helping the Saturday and Sunday crowd numbers in particular, track officials have announced a weekend total of 269,889 for the weekend. This marks a new overall announced weekend attendance record for COTA. In 2012, the track announced a total of 265,499 overall and 117,429 on Sunday. In 2013, a

  • Cubs overwhelming favorites to win World Series over Indians

    For the past 108 years, the Chicago Cubs have played the underdog. The Cubs come into the series as an overwhelming favorite to hoist the World Series trophy, according to Bovada. The Cubs might be the favorites in the World Series, but the money is coming in on Cleveland.

    Big League Stew
  • Disastrous Break, Quadruple Bogey Derails PGA Tour Player's Chance at Win

    (c) 2016 Time Inc. Justin Thomas Defends Title at CIMB Classic Justin Thomas battled back from a four-shot deficit during the final round of the 2016 CIMB Classic at TPC Kuala Lampur to successfully defend his 2015 title.Anirban Lahiri had one of the

  • NFL morning after: The decline of Colin Kaepernick

    Colin Kaepernick is the NFL’s most significant player off the field, a player whose simple act of declining to stand during the national anthem has led to wide-ranging discussions across America about race, police brutality, free speech and the role of sport in society. That has been the subject of thousands of commentaries. But it’s not the subject of this commentary. Instead, I want to talk about why I also consider Kaepernick the most fascinating NFL player off the field. And the reason for that is simple: He has rapidly declined from a very good quarterback to a terrible quarterback, at an age when most quarterbacks are still getting better. It was less than four years ago that Kaepernick

    NBC Sports: ProFootballTalk
  • Don’t glare: Heritage Classic start time delayed

    It’s not a familiar situation for the NHL, but it has happened before: a weather delay for a hockey game. The Winnipeg Jets confirmed that the start time for their Heritage Classic game against the Edmonton Oilers has been delayed. The glare of the sun appears to be too much. At the moment, it is not yet known how severe the delay will be. Puck drop was originally scheduled for just after 3 p.m. ET. That’s a bummer, but at least it inspired a joke that would probably make Ilya Bryzgalov smile: Warm-ups were moved to 4 p.m. ET. PHT will keep you posted if there are any other changes.

  • Klay Thompson, Steve Kerr slam Golden State official who called Warriors ‘[cowards]’

    Marreese Speights bluntly assessed Draymond Green, but at least Speights put his name behind his words (at least until implying he was misquoted, to which the writer countered by claiming he had audio). Someone else in the fantastic profile of Green by Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN never attached his name. Strauss: multiple Warriors staffers share the opinion that Green is their most important player. Nobody replicates his set of contributions. As one team official puts it: “The guys might be frustrated by his antics, but they had an opportunity to prove themselves without him in Game 5 and they played like a bunch of [cowards].” Multiple Warriors objected. Klay Thompson, via Monte Poole of

  • NFL FANTASY - No Vincent Jackson, no problem in Tampa

    Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football expert Liz Loza tells fantasy owners how to capitalize off the Tampa Bay offense despite the loss of Vincent Jackson to IR.

    Yahoo Sports Videos
  • Three things we learned from Chelsea’s win vs. Man United

    LONDON — Chelsea beat Manchester United 4-0 on Sunday in an unhappy return to Stamford Bridge for Jose Mourinho. First half goals from Pedro and Gary Cahill set them on their way and then Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante added gloss to the scoreline as United unraveled as Chelsea went into the top four. Here’s what we learned from a humbling afternoon for Mourinho back in west London. NIGHTMARE RETURN FOR MOURINHO “You’re not special anymore!” “You’re getting sacked in the morning!” “Who are ya? Who are ya?” Those were just sum of the chants directed at Manchester United’s manager Jose Mourinho on his first return to Chelsea since he was sacked last December. It was an incredibly uncomfortable afternoon

  • Mets plan to slow-play market for Yoenis Cespedes

    The Mets want to bring back Yoenis Cespedes, "but they probably wouldn't chase him if he got an enormous long-term deal elsewhere," given his age and the streaky nature of his production, according to weekend report from ESPN.com's Buster Olney. According to multiple reports, Cespedes is expected to opt out of his three-year contract and become a free agent. There is mutual interest in having him return to the Mets. However, "There is no urgency," a source told Olney, who says the Mets are open to effectively updating his current deal with another opt-out clause. Cespedes has until three days after the end of the World Series to decide whether to opt out of his current contract with the Mets, ESPN.com's

  • Report: Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen could return to the Dodgers in 2017

    With their 2016 season and 11-game playoff run in the books, the Dodgers are refocusing their attention on the upcoming 2017 season. Two outstanding performers, third baseman Justin Turner and right-handed closer Kenley Jansen, are on the cusp of free agency heading into the offseason. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Dodgers intend to make qualifying offers to both Turner and Jansen, but may not be prepared to go the distance to keep both of them on the 2017 roster. Turner finished his third season in Los Angeles with a .275/.339/.493 batting line and a career-best 27 home runs, riding a hot streak that made him one of the most productive players on the Dodgers’ squad this October. He

  • Dexter Fowler will have a special place in Cubs' World Series history

    Tucked into all the history that comes with the Chicago Cubs making their first World Series appearance since 1945 is one amazing fact that Dexter Fowler learned about not long after spraying champagne all over the clubhouse. When he leads off Game 1 of the 2016 World Series, Fowler is going to be the first African-American to play for the Chicago Cubs in the World Series. Robinson played his first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, two years after the Cubs lost in seven games to the Detroit Tigers in the 1945 World Series.

    Big League Stew