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Wade’s Fractured Bulls Host Hot Heat

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CHICAGO, Ill. (SportsDirect Inc.) — Dwyane Wade’s old team is visiting just as his new team seems to be coming apart.

Wade and the Chicago Bulls will try to heal some of the fractures within the team and bounce back from a tough loss when they host the Miami Heat on Friday.

The Bulls gave up 41 fourth-quarter points, including a 19-4 game-ending run, in a 119-114 home loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, and both Wade and All-Star Jimmy Butler had some harsh words for their teammates after the game.

“I don’t know what happened,” Wade told reporters. “But we continue to be in these kinds of situations and lose games like this. Everyone don’t care enough. You got to care enough, man. It’s got to mean that much to you to want to win. And it doesn’t. So I don’t know what happened.”

The Heat, with whom Wade spent the first 13 years of his career before leaving as a free agent last summer, are 14th out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference but are playing their best basketball right now and enter the matchup with a five-game winning streak.

Miami took the opener of its two-game road trip 109-106 at Brooklyn on Wednesday – the fourth time during the winning streak that the team pulled out a win decided by six points or fewer.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Miami), CSN Chicago

ABOUT THE HEAT (16-30): Miami’s ability to pull out close games of late comes down to shooting guard Dion Waiters burying clutch jumpers. Waiters, who is averaging 30 points on 61.4 percent shooting in the last three games, knocked down the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final second of Monday’s 105-102 triumph over the NBA-best Golden State Warriors and nailed another key 3-pointer down the stretch in Wednesday’s triumph. “He has that almost irrational confidence,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters of Waiters. “You need that. I feel very comfortable with the ball in his hands, especially in key, clutch moments.”

ABOUT THE BULLS (23-24): Wade (33) and Butler (40) combined for 73 points on Wednesday, and both questioned their teammates’ desire to win after the loss. “At the end of the day, do whatever it takes to help the team win,” Butler told reporters. “You play your role to the T. Be a star in your role, man. That’s how you win in this league, man. You have to embrace what this team, what this organization needs for you to do on either end of the floor. On top of everything else, just play every possession like it’s your last. We don’t play hard all the time. It’s very disappointing whenever we don’t play hard.” Reserve small forward Doug McDermott (10 points on 4-of-9 shooting in 23 minutes) was the only other player in double figures.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Bulls PF Nikola Mirotic is 2-of-15 from 3-point range in the last four games.

2. Miami C Hassan Whiteside (ankle) left Wednesday’s game and is questionable for Friday.

3. Wade averaged 20.5 points in a pair of wins over Miami earlier this season.

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