With just eight games remaining before the end of the regular season, only three games separate the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat at the top of the Eastern Conference standings. While the margin would normally be a comfortable one for Chicago, the Bulls still play the Heat two more times before the postseason begins, with the first coming tonight at the United Center.
Chicago expects to have reigning MVP Derrick Rose back in the lineup. Rose missed 12 straight games with a groin injury before returning on Easter Sunday in a loss to the Knicks. Rose sprained his ankle in the defeat, which caused him to miss Chicago's Tuesday night victory over the same Knicks. If we've learned anything this season, it's that Rose will always be listed as a game-time decision, though all signs are pointing to him being in the lineup on Thursday night against Miami, barring a setback.
The Bulls and Heat, who also play on April 19, have split the season series 1-1 so far. Nearly everyone expects this to be a preview of the Eastern Conference finals matchup we've been anxiously waiting all season for.
Game time/date: Thursday, April 12, 2012, 7:00 p.m. CT
Location: United Center, Chicago, Ill.