Streak in jeopardy? Heat face tough task in Chicago

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Updated: March 27, 2013

After getting past some of the league’s mediocre teams, the
Miami Heat will face a formidable foe Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls.

The Heat, of course, are riding a franchise-best 27-game winning streak and
opened a four-game road trip with Monday’s 108-94 victory over the Orlando
Magic. LeBron James led the way with 24 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds,
and is averaging 27.0 ppg during the second-longest winning streak in the NBA.

“Our historic run is about winning championships. That is what we want to be
known for. We didn’t have a goal in mind to say, ‘let’s go on a long
consecutive win streak,'” James said.

On the second night of a back-to-back, Miami played without Dwyane Wade
because of a sore right knee. Wade is listed as questionable for his
homecoming in Chicago.

Mario Chalmers had 17 points in the win over Orlando, while Chris Bosh and Ray
Allen both scored 12 points for the Southeast champion Heat, who made 15-of-28
3-pointers. Chalmers and Allen had four 3-pointers apiece.

Miami, which is 20-0 since the All-Star break and on pace for the NBA’s best
record, has won 13 in a row on the road and is 24-11 as the guest. It will
also visit New Orleans and San Antonio on the road swing, and is one road win
shy of matching a franchise-best 14 straight set back in 1996.

Chicago would like to be at full strength for this matchup to give the Heat
some pressure. Already without former MVP Derrick Rose (knee surgery), the
Bulls could be down a few more bodies Wednesday.

Guard Marco Belinelli (abdomen) and center Joakim Noah (foot) are both
questionable and forward Taj Gibson (knee) is probable.

The rested Bulls have won two straight and three of five games, including
Sunday’s 104-97 triumph over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Nate Robinson had 22
points and 10 assists, and Jimmy Butler tallied 20 points and nine rebounds.

“Once we got going a bit I thought that was the whole key to the game,” Bulls
coach Tom Thibodeau said.

Carlos Boozer had 19 points and 12 boards, while Luol Deng contributed 17
points, seven rebounds and four assists. Chicago is currently even with
Atlanta for the fifth spot in the East — 2 1/2 games behind Brooklyn.

The Bulls are 19-16 at the United Center this season and will travel to Dallas
for Saturday’s matchup.

Chicago and Miami have split a pair of meetings this season with each team
winning on the opposing floor. The Heat have dropped six of the previous eight
matchups in the Windy City.