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CHICAGO (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The banged up Miami Heat are hoping to get things back on track.
The Chicago Bulls had been scuffling along with six losses in eight games before dominating the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.
The Bulls will try to maintain that high level of play in consecutive games when they host the Heat on Monday.
Chicago gave up an average of 117.5 points in back-to-back losses to Golden State and Boston before rising to the level of its competition in a 96-83 win over the Eastern Conference-leading Cavaliers.
“I wish I could put a finger on it, but I can’t,” Bulls point guard Derrick Rose told reporters of the team’s inconsistency. “That’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I really can’t put a finger on it.”
The Heat are battling some consistency issues in terms of playing time as a series of injuries has pushed players in and out of the lineup.
Miami dressed only nine players for a 101-81 loss at the Toronto Raptors on Friday that marked its fourth straight setback.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Miami), CSN Chicago
ABOUT THE HEAT (23-21): Dwyane Wade (shoulder) missed two of the last five games and returned on Friday and managed 22 points, but Chris Bosh (26 points) was the only other player to score in double figures as Miami failed to reach 90 points for the fourth straight game.
The Heat have played that entire stretch without a true point guard, as both Beno Udrih (neck) and Goran Dragic (calf) sat out.
Udrih is considered day-to-day while Dragic is not expected back until later in the week.
ABOUT THE BULLS (25-18): Chicago held the Cavaliers to 37.2 percent from the field on Saturday and feels good about its efforts against top contenders.
“You take away Golden State (which trounced Chicago 125-94 on Wednesday), we’re 8-0 against the other 2-through-6 in the league,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters. “I told our guys, we say this all the time, ‘this is one you can build off of, and if you can go out there and play with that type of intensity, you’re going to give yourself a chance night in and night out.’”
Chicago will need to carry that intensity on the road when it begins a seven-game trip after finishing up with the Heat.
- Heat C Hassan Whiteside (hip) sat out Friday and remains day-to-day.
- Bulls C Pau Gasol recorded back-to-back double-doubles after being held to one point and eight boards by the Warriors.
- Whiteside recorded a triple-double with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 12 blocks in Miami’s last trip to Chicago – a 96-84 win on Jan. 25, 2015.
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