(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls already have a spot in the postseason and are still jockeying for position in the Eastern Conference.
The Miami Heat hope to reach that goal and don't have much time left, as they welcome the Bulls to AmericanAirlines Arena Thursday night.
Miami and Indiana are both one game off a playoff spot and Charlotte sits three games off the pace in the East. The Bulls are even with Toronto for the No. 3 spot - one game ahead of Washington.
The Heat put the brakes on a four-game slide their last time out in a 105-100 victory over the Hornets on Tuesday, as Goran Dragic stepped up his game with 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting and Luol Deng added 21 points. Dwyane Wade scored 19 points for Miami, which made 49 percent from the field and opened a four-game homestand on a high note.
"This was a playoff game," Dragic said. "Tonight was a must win for us."
Dragic is one game away from 500 in his career.
Miami had a 90-80 lead until the Hornets responded with a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to three at 92-89 with less than five minutes to go. Dragic then scored nine of Miami's final 13 points to help secure the triumph.
The Heat are 31-6 this season when leading after three quarters and head coach Erik Spoelstra is one win shy of 350 in his career.
Spoelstra's squad has won nine of the last 11 games in south Florida and has a 19-19 mark as the host. The Heat will also welcome Toronto and Orlando to town on this residency before closing out the campaign at Philadelphia.
Chicago welcomed back former NBA MVP Derrick Rose in Wednesday's 105-103 loss to the Magic and will close out a three-game trek tonight.
Rose missed the last 20 games after undergoing knee surgery and played 19 minutes, posting nine points and two assists. He was on a minutes restriction and did not play in the fourth quarter, when the Bulls squandered a lead.
"I felt good," said Rose. "I didn't feel any discomfort at all."
Jimmy Butler paced the Bulls with 19 points, and four others finished with a least 13, including Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic and Taj Gibson with 15. Aaron Brooks recorded 13 points for the Bulls, losers in three of the last four games. Orlando had a 26-16 scoring advantage in the final stanza.
Chicago has dropped three straight and nine of the past 11 road games, and is 21-18 away from the United Center this season.
Bulls center Joakim Noah, who had four points and 11 rebounds at Orlando, has 773 career blocks and needs two to pass Scottie Pippen (774 blocks with Bulls) for second in franchise history. Michael Jordan leads the Bulls with 828 career blocks.
The Bulls will host the 76ers on Saturday and have split two matchups with Miami this season with each team winning on the road. The Heat have dominated this series lately and are 7-3 in the previous 10 encounters.