CHICAGO BULLS (0-0)
at MIAMI HEAT (0-0)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Line: Miami -5, Total: 187.5
The NBA season tips off with three games on Tuesday night, but none will draw the amount of attention or excitement of the matchup between the Bulls and Heat.
Miami's quest for a three-peat and Derrick Roseís return from a torn ACL are just two of the stories that will begin when Chicago heads to South Beach for the first game of the 2013-2014 regular season. This matchup is between two teams that could very well be playing in the Eastern Conference Finals when all is said and done. These teams met in the playoffs last season, where Chicago stole Game 1 as a heavy underdog, but did not get another win the rest of the series. Miami won four straight games SU and covered in three of those four games. Last season, the Heat were 82-23 SU and 58-47 ATS (55%) including playoffs. The Bulls, on the other hand, went 50-44 SU and just 41-52-1 ATS (44%). Miami is 7-3 SU (6-4 ATS) in the past 10 games against Chicago, but is a dominant 12-3 SU (9-6 ATS) the past 15 times it has faced the Bulls at home. Last year during the regular season, the Heat were 28-26 ATS when playing at home and the Bulls were 27-20-1 ATS when playing on the road.
The Bulls played the entire 2012-2013 season without their superstar PG Derrick Rose, and still made the playoffs and won their first round series. This season, Rose returns and if his preseason is any indication of how heíll play starting Tuesday, the Bulls are looking at a special season. One of the highlights of Roseís preseason was a 32-point, 9-assist performance against the Pacers in just 31 minutes of play. Chicago didnít change its roster too much in the offseason, but did bring in Mike Dunleavy (10.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 43% 3-pt FG last season with Bucks) in free agency. He provides a nice offensive player off the bench for a team that sometimes struggles to score. The Bulls may be without C Joakim Noah (groin) and PG Kirk Hinrich (concussion) when they take on the Heat, as the two have been out of the past few preseason games and have not been full participants in practice.
The Heat have now won the last two NBA championships and have their eyes set on a third. SF LeBron James and SG Dwyane Wade are more familiar with each other than ever and PF Chris Bosh is excellent in a pick-and-pop situation. The Heat lost sharp-shooter Mike Miller to the Grizzlies in free agency, but did make a few low-risk, high-reward moves. They signed PF Michael Beasley and C Greg Oden, moves that if they pan out could help the Heat run away with another title. Beasley, a talented scorer, fell out of favor in Phoenix after averaging 10.1 PPG on a miserable 40.5% FG. He is, however, only 24, and just two seasons removed from averaging 19.2 PPG on 45.0% FG with the Timberwolves. Oden is a whole other story. After being selected No. 1 in the 2007 NBA Draft over Kevin Durant, Oden has been plagued by injuries throughout his entire career. When he stepped on the court versus the Pelicans in the preseason on Oct. 23, it was the first time Oden played a minute of a game since 2009. When healthy, the big man is one of the better defensive stoppers in the game, but he still not 100 percent and may never be again. He is a reclamation project and the Heat are hoping to get just 10-to-15 minutes out of him a night to spell Bosh.