|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0020:00 ET6:00 PM CTNaN:� , March 18, 2023
United Center, Chicago, Illinois Attendance: 20,094
Bulls, Heat meet amid pursuit of playoffs
Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls
- Miami has dropped its previous two games against Chicago, both of which were played earlier this season. The Heat have not had a three-game losing streak or longer to the Bulls since they dropped three to them between January and March of 2011.
- The Heat shot 59.8 percent from the field in their 138-119 win over the Grizzlies on Wednesday. This was Miami's highest field goal percentage as a team since they shot 60.3 percent from the field against the Jazz on November 6, 2021.
- Jimmy Butler put up 23 points in 27 minutes and 53 seconds of gametime on Wednesday. This is the second most points Butler has ever scored in less than 28 minutes of play in his career, only trailing a 26-point effort in 26 minutes and 59 seconds on December 13, 2017.
- The Heat are shooting 83.1 percent from the charity stripe this season. That is on pace for Miami's highest single-season free throw percentage all-time, surpassing its 80.8 percent previous high, set last season.
- Knicks' Randle done for regular season
- Tatum, Brown help Celtics rout Bucks
- Ingram has 31-11-10, Pels beat Nuggets
- Kings end record 16-year playoff drought
- Suns beat Wolves in Durant's home debut
Eastern Conference counterparts jockeying for postseason positioning will square off Saturday night in Chicago when the Bulls and Miami Heat clash.
Chicago (32-37) will be playing the second leg of a back-to-back series. It will be first of a road back-to-back for Miami (38-33).
The Heat will open a weekend double-dip that includes a visit to last-place Detroit on Sunday. Before that, Miami will try to win its third straight game after a pair of home victories Monday and Wednesday over Utah and Memphis, respectively.
Bam Adebayo led three Miami scorers who had at least 23 points in Wednesday's win over the Grizzlies, scoring 26 on 10-of-15 shooting from the floor. Tyler Herro added 24 points, and Jimmy Butler went for 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Wednesday's contest marked Butler's sixth straight with at least 23 points, a stretch that peaked with a 38-point performance in the Heat's most recent loss - a 126-114 overtime decision at Orlando on March 11.
Butler's scoring proficiency coincides with a six-game stretch in which Miami scored more than its NBA-low 109.1 points-per-game average in five of six outings. Coach Erik Spoelstra said improved offense has been a point of emphasis heading into the home stretch of the regular season.
"[For the] first 45 games of the year, we knew how we could win games, and that's defending at an incredibly high level and keeping games close and have our closers finish it off," Spoelstra said, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "We've been diligently working on our offensive efficiency, getting the ball where it needs to go, making sure we have the right shot profile, and get to our strength zones way more often, particularly in those moments of truth and skirmishes, that we continue to do that."
Miami is seventh in the East, sitting atop the four-team play-in group, entering the game vs. Chicago. The Bulls moved into the 10th spot through games Friday with a 139-131, double-overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Friday's victory marked the Bulls' third in their last four games. They lost at the buzzer on Wednesday to Sacramento.
DeMar DeRozan followed his 33-point effort against the Kings with a season-high 49 points against the Timberwolves. DeRozan also grabbed 14 rebounds in the win.
Zach LaVine added 39 points.
"Two guys getting going like that, it's pick your poison," LaVine said of himself and DeRozan.
"We know we can play with anybody," LaVine added. "We've just got to turn it into wins. That's all matters. ... These last 13 games, all that matters is that W."
Chicago also got 21 points and 11 rebounds from Nikola Vucevic for his 43rd double-double of the season.
The Bulls can improve to 3-0 on the season against the Heat with a win on Saturday. Chicago won 113-103 in Miami on Dec. 20 and opened the season with a 116-108 victory, also on the road.
Saturday's matchup will be the final one between the two teams this season.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 18, 2023