Tonight’s matchup: Heat face tanking Bulls; hope to close in on playoff spot

Josh Richardson of the Miami Heat drives against Lauri Markkanen of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 15. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO BULLS AT MIAMI HEAT

When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun/WAXY 790AM, WRTO 98.3 FM (Spanish)

Records: Miami 40-35, Chicago 24-50

Line: Miami favored by 13 points.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Heat

F: James Johnson

F: Josh Richardson

C: Hassan Whiteside

G: Tyler Johnson

G: Goran Dragic

Bulls

F: Lauri Markkanen

F: Denzel Valentine

C: Robin Lopez

G: Justin Holiday

G: Cameron Payne

Scouting report: The Heat hope to have Hassan Whiteside in the lineup for the first time since March 8. Whiteside has missed nine straight game with a left hip flexor strain and is listed as questionable after participating in Wednesday’s practice. Miami is 5-4 in those games. … Whiteside’s backup, Bam Adebayo, is out with a sprained right ankle. … The Heat have won 10-of-11 at home, five of those by at least 19 points, including Tuesday’s 98-79 victory over the Cavaliers. … Miami is seventh in the East, one/half game against of No. 8 Milwaukee and 5.5 games in front of No.9 Detroit. Miami has seven games remaining. The Heat can clinch a playoff spot with a victory and a Pistons loss at home to the Wizards. … The Bulls are in full tank mode and are doing a good job it, losing their last six games by an average of 20.5 points, including a 118-86 blowout loss at Houston on Tuesday, a game in which Lauri Markkanen was the Bulls’ only starter in double figures with 22 points. … Chicago has the fourth-worst defensive rating (109.4), third-worst offensive rating (101.6) and and third-worst net rating (-7.8) in the league.  … The Heat have won 2-of-3 this season with Goran Dragic leading Miami with 19.7 points in the three games. … Tyler Johnson is shooting 58.3 percent (14-of-24) on 3-pointers in his last five games.

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