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Could Miami catch Chicago for top spot in East? Maybe. But not likely.

Apr 16, 2012, 11:25 PM EDT

Miami Heat's forward Howard and guard Wade congratulate forward James after they took the lead over the New Jersey Nets in the fourth quarter of their NBA basketball game in Newark, New Jersey Reuters

A few days ago, this seemed impossible. It’s still not likely. Unless you think the Heat can start to find those higher gears we think they have but haven’t seen in a while.

Still, after the Heat came back to beat the Nets Monday night on the strength of LeBron James scoring the final 17 points of the game for Miami, and after the Bulls fell to the Wizards at the same time, suddenly the door to the top spot in the East that Chicago thought it had shut is open a crack.

Miami has six games to play, the Bulls five.

The biggest of those is Thursday — Miami and Chicago face off. The Heat have to find a way to beat the Bulls at home to have a chance. If they do that 2.5 game lead (as of Monday) is 1.5.

The Heat have an easier road the rest of the way. They face Toronto Wednesday, then the Bulls, then the Wizards, the Rockets (who could be desperate or could be demoralized), they have a tough game at Boston, then they finish with the Wizards again.

The Bulls have a gimme against Charlotte, then the Heat on the road, then they have a good Dallas team, a Pacers team that is the three seed in the East and won eight of their last nine, then they finish off with the Cavaliers. A lot of their chances come down to how healthy Derrick Rose is — the Heat, Pacers and Mavericks are all potential losses.

If the Bulls stumble and the Heat get hot….

But do you want to bet on that? Since the All-Star break the Heat have been inconsistent and disinterested. We keep talking about them like a Ferrari with these high gears nobody can match, but if you don’t reach those gears your no faster than a Chevy Tahoe. Even the win Monday over the lowly Nets required a huge game from LeBron James.

On the flip side, while the Bulls lost to the Wizards they have found a way to beat teams all season long without Rose. That includes the Heat in overtime.

But it could happen. We’ll have a better idea Thursday night.

  1. leearmon - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    Intelligent basketball fans can argue all day long about how strong Chicago is / isn’t with or without Rose. However we all can agree the Bulls MUST have Luol Deng. His play on both sides of the ball is extremely important to that team’s successes. And as you saw tonight, beating one of the worst teams in the league at home is no gimmie without him.

  2. asublimeday - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    It is mind-blowing that an NBC journalist can’t distinguish between “your” and “you’re”.

    Seriously?

    • david0303 - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:26 AM

      do you think kurt even reads the comments and realizes that he makes mistakes in just about every article he writes?

      • drunkenjunk - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:27 AM

        it’s still embarrassing.

      • berbes - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:43 AM

        yes, i believe he reads EVERY comment about his ‘job’ :).

    • david8726 - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:12 AM

      All writers, no matter how good, sometimes make spelling / grammar mistakes. That’s why news papers employ editors – So that a second set of eyes can catch those mistakes.

      Perhaps this website doesn’t filter all articles through an editor?

      In any case, it’s nothing to get worked up about.

  3. gmsingh - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:50 AM

    I’m confused about this article–is Kurt supposed to be an objective journalist?

    Kudos, Kurt–you’re a fanboy with a paying gig.

  4. talkingfan - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:09 AM

    No heart heats!!!!!!

  5. boilerup1869 - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    Last night we saw that Luol is really the team’s Co-MVP. It may not be a stretch to ask if Luol is as important to the bulls on defense as Derrick is on offense.

  6. 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Where was Bill Simmons with the comparisons to last night’s game and Rocky IV? The Nets home crowd turns and by the end they’re chanting “Let’s Go Heat” and “M.V.P”. And we get nothing.

    Simmons (whom I love by the way), and all the rest of you are more than happy to call him out/make fun/send out derisive tweets anytime he double dribbles, or heaven forbid only beat the Knicks in MSG by 8; but when you see something like an entire road crowd chanting M.V.P. for you, there’s nothing. Not one tweet. Not one article on PBT. Nada.

    It’s an unwinnable war we’re in here people.

    • jimmymarlinsfan - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:42 PM

      Let’s go Heat!

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