Heat take down Bulls 102-91, set for 1st round matchup against Bucks
Miami will make the playoffs for the 12th time in 15 years.
Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat have defeated the Chicago Bulls in the Play-In and will officially reach the playoffs. Miami makes it as the 8th seed and will now get ready for Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks this Sunday. Butler and Max Strus each tallied 31 points, as Bam Adebayo was a beast on the boards with 17 rebounds. Tyler Herro contributed 12 points and Kevin Love provided solid minutes off the bench with 9 points in 11 minutes.
The duo of Demar Derozen and Zach Lavine was held in check tonight as they combined for 15/40 shooting from the field. Miami made it difficult for the Bulls stars and found ways to alter shots, even some of their wheel house shots that they usually make.
After getting dominated on the glass against the Atlanta Hawks, the Heat bounced back in that department with a 51-37 rebounding advantage. It was a close game throughout that even featured Chicago having a lead late in the 4th quarter. However, it was Butler and Strus who rose to the occasion with some timely buckets.
Butler had a huge and-one bucket to go along with an even bigger Strus triple that wound up being the dagger. Strus was also fouled on a 3 pointer and hit all 3 free throws to slam the door on the Bulls with under a minute left in the game.
Before tonight’s game Erik Spoelstra mentioned he was trying to make some rotation changes. He tightened it by keeping it an 8 man rotation with Caleb Martin, Kyle Lowry and Kevin Love off the bench. Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller who had minutes against the Hawks did not see any playing time.
The Heat will play the Bucks for the third time in four seasons in the playoffs. Miami defeated them in 5 games in 2020 but got swept by them in 4 games the following year in 2021.
Both teams are now set up for a rubber series and even though the Heat are clearly the underdog at the 8 seed, they are going to be a respectable opponent. The two squads tied the season series 2-2 this year.
Heat Nation, get ready for a Sunday showdown in Milwaukee this weekend for Game 1.
Bucks have way too much size for Heat's "small ball" version. Spo will need to play Zeller, as well as possibly Big Guac and ORob, if the series turns into a physical/grind them out affair or if Bam gets hurt. But, if it's a sweep or "Gentlemen's Sweep" not so much. If nothing else, the Heat can use all it's centers to "Whack a Greek" like they used to do to Shaq, because of his poor free throw shooting. Giannis shot FT's at under 65% for the season. It could work, especially at the end of close games.
That was definitely a fun game to watch, and great games from Jimmy buckets, plus strus juice. Is middleton still hurt?