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Bet on the NBAComing off of a loss in Toronto on Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls are looking ahead to Thursday night's game against the Miami Heat. Chicago's defense fell apart in the game against the Raptors, who shot 58.1% from the field in their 118-113 win against the Bulls. This was despite the fact that center Joakim Noah returned to the Bulls lineup after a 30-game thumb injury.

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The Heat will be looking to capitalize on the poor defensive performance of the Bulls tonight, as well as the back-to-back games Chicago is playing Wednesday-Thursday night. This gives the Heat a slight advantage in the odds, with Miami being listed as the -.25 favorites. Don't count the Bulls out of the game, however, as both teams are fairly rested since the All-Star Break.

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Noah is also working off some of the rust that inevitably develops with a professional athlete taking off thirty games in a row. While he had 16 rebounds (7 in the first six minutes of the game), he was unable to stop Toronto's Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan from scoring easy points under the basket throughout the game. If Noah comes back fresh for the Heat game, you can expect a better showing from the Bulls overall.

Miami is coming off of a 117-97 drubbing of the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night, as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh scored 76 of the Heat's points. They also combined for 25 rebounds and 11 assists. Concerns that Wade may have injured his ankle in the All-Star game seem to be unfounded, as he displayed no evidence of the injury in the game against Sacramento.

In the first Heat-Bulls game on January 15, Chicago won 99-96 at the United Center. LeBron did not play in that game, however, as he was suffering from a sprained ankle. The game was left to the two Chicago natives – Derrick Rose of the Bulls and Dwyane Wade of the Heat – to fight it out offensively before the Bulls hit a three-point field goal with 25.5 seconds left on the clock to seal the game for the Bulls.

 

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