Skip to content

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Arron Afflalo expected to play for Blazers in Game 3 vs. Grizzlies

    Apr 24, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    New Orleans Pelicans v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Portland, down 0-2 to Memphis, needs all the help it can get.

  2. NBA, 20 teams launch apps for Apple Watch

    Apr 24, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    celtics-cavs

    NBA continues its technological push.

  3. PBT Extra: Great playoff series to come in later rounds

    Apr 24, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers

    Looking past the first round to some of the more exciting later matchups to come.

  4. Lakers to send Byron Scott to NBA Draft lottery

    Apr 24, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    He’s got to coach whoever they draft anyway, why not?

  5. Report: Thunder considering Ettore Messina for coach

    Apr 24, 2015, 2:33 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Two Getty Images

    Spurs assistant coach achieved incredible success in Europe

  6. Gregg Popovich’s main adjustment: Hope his guys just shoot better

    Apr 24, 2015, 1:07 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Two Getty Images

    Despite the chess match going on, guys still have to just hit their looks.

  7. Why can’t the Pelicans foul in a timely manner?

    Apr 24, 2015, 11:15 AM EDT

    Monty Williams Monty Williams

    And I’m not just talking about allowing Stephen Curry’s game-tying 3-pointer

  8. Probable top-10 pick Mario Hezonja declares for NBA draft

    Apr 24, 2015, 10:33 AM EDT

    Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul v FC Barcelona - Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 Getty Images

    Is his scoring, size and athleticism worth the trouble? It won’t take long for an NBA team to say yes

  9. Derrick Rose scorches Bucks for 34 points (video)

    Apr 24, 2015, 9:50 AM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v Milwaukee Bucks-Game Three Getty Images

    Bulls point guard looks good – very good

  10. PBT Extra: No Rajon Rondo, no Chandler Parsons, Dallas is in trouble vs. Houston

    Apr 24, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Rick Carlisle, Rajon Rondo AP

    An engaged Rondo would have been a different story. Probably. We will never know.

Featured video

Injuries not why Scott Brooks lost his job
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. C. Parsons (5287)
  2. D. Rose (4661)
  3. D. Lee (4581)
  4. K. Durant (4422)
  5. T. Splitter (4151)
  1. A. Afflalo (4141)
  2. D. Harris (4136)
  3. P. George (4052)
  4. K. Bryant (3972)
  5. L. James (3920)