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updated: 3/10/2017 6:22 AM

North: Miami heating up as Bulls struggle

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  • Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra shouts instructions to his players against the Charlotte Hornets in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in Miami. The Heat won 108-101.

    Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra shouts instructions to his players against the Charlotte Hornets in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in Miami. The Heat won 108-101.

 
 

The Chicago Bulls (31-33) are like a circus right now. They might make the playoffs, and then again might not.

But they are in limbo because one of the hottest teams in basketball, the Miami Heat (31-34) is right on their heels.

Don't let the Heat's below .500 record fool you, as they have won 20 of their past 24 games, which doesn't bode well for the Bulls.

Now Dwyane Wade is missing in action for the Bulls with a thigh injury, and the Paul Zipser years are upon us.

If you don't know much about Zipser, that's understandable. The 23-year-old German player was drafted 48th overall by the Bulls in 2016, and has played in limited games so far.

The Bulls decided to stick with Jimmy Butler instead of trading him, and honestly I'm not really sure if it was the right move or not.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, and Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy, have their teams chasing inexperienced and seemingly overwhelmed second-year Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg.

Unfortunately, the Bulls are stuck with a lot of players who are young but mostly B-type players. Four-time NBA all-star Rajon Rondo, meanwhile, looks like he is just playing out the clock for the Bulls.

I'm not giving up, though, and hopefully the Bulls aren't either, but the Heat has shocked the NBA. They were left for dead in the first half of the season, but after beating Cleveland last Saturday 120-92 and then knocking off Charlotte Wednesday night 108-101, they just might be the second-best team in the East.

Miami might start slumping, but it looks more like that team is hitting its stride and isn't going away. Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic are leading the way for them, and Heat President Pat Riley made a solid move by signing Dion Waiters to a one-year deal, who is definitely making a difference.

Riley and Spoelstra had a plan for Miami and have stuck with it.

Can anyone tell me what is the plan for the Bulls?

If Wade can return, then maybe the Bulls can put something together to make the playoffs this season, but my experience tells me they are what they are and it doesn't look promising.

If Miami plays Cleveland in the playoffs, it won't be easy, and I'm sure Cleveland would rather face the Bulls because that series would be over quickly -- probably in five games. A Miami-Cleveland series would be much tougher.

There's still time for the Bulls, and just making the playoffs, after all the distractions they had this year, would be a boon for the Bulls and Hoiberg's career, in my opinion.

Let's wait and see what happens, but I still believe it's possible.

• Follow Mike on Twitter @north2north. Check out his podcast Monday-Friday at podcastarena.com, iTunes or audioboom. His column appears each Friday in the Daily Herald. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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