The stage is set in the United Center as Miami looks to bring the heat to Chicago. Tip off is set for 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 2.
The Heat enter the match No. 1 in the Eastern Conference and 49-28 on the season. The Bulls are currently No. 5 in the East, recording 45-32 on the season. Both teams will enter Saturday’s game coming off of recent wins.
Chicago’s Recent Win Over Clippers
The Bulls will enter Saturday’s match after a thrilling overtime 135-130 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday. In overtime, the Bulls led by four when Luke Kennard swished a three for the Clippers and Patrick Williams quickly countered with a three of his own for Chicago. The Bulls led 129-125 with less than a minute on the clock.
Reggie Jackson completed two foul shots for the Clippers when DeMar DeRozan converted two for Chicago. Williams secured a rebound from a missed drive by Jackson as DeRozan shot an additional two free throws. Now a six point game, pressure overwhelmed the United Center court. With just five seconds remaining, Jackson drilled a three bringing the score to 133-130.
After a timeout from Chicago, DeRozan sealed the deal for the Bulls by securing the inbounds pass and driving down the court for a dunk. Fans erupted as the fourth quarter king struck again.
DeRozan recorded 50 points in the Bulls’ victory over the Clippers. DeRozan has become the sixth player ever to reach 50 points in a single game in franchise history.
Miami’s Recent Win Over Celtics
The Heat also had a thrilling victory in their last match as they defeated Boston 106-98 on Wednesday.
With 1:43 remaining on the clock, Kyle Lowry assisted Jimmy Butler who drove for a fast break dunk bringing the score to 102-98. After Jayson Tatum was called on an offensive foul, Boston received another out of bounds call which ejected Marcus Smart from the game. The Heat then sealed the win from the free throw line, gaining their second consecutive win after suffering from a season-worst four game losing streak.
Butler led the Heat with 24 points, Lowry followed with 23, while Bam Adebayo added 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Jimmy led the way last night with 24 pts for the ✨ X – Miami HEAT ✨ pic.twitter.com/hMcqMAjsxT
— X – Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 31, 2022
Despite Lonzo Ball remaining out due to a knee injury, Chicago holds an impressive roster. The Bulls rally behind the dynamic duo of DeRozan and Zach LaVine. The two compose the greatest All-Star Duo the franchise has witnessed in decades. Together the two dominate the court averaging 52.6 ppg and 10 rpg combined. DeRozan and LaVine continue to be compared to Chicago greats, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine are the second pair of @chicagobulls teammates with 30+ points and 9+ assists in the same game.
The first was Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen on March 31, 1991. pic.twitter.com/4pPngDUunP
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) December 28, 2021
Miami however, has a few powerhouses of their own. Butler leads the Heat averaging 21.3 ppg. Tyler Herro follows Butler scoring an average 20.3 ppg, while Lowry records an average seven assists for the Heat. Additionally, Adebayo has been on fire for Miami as of recent as he has averaged 20.1 ppg in the past ten games and leads the team in rebounds at 10.3 rpg.
“Jimmy can shoot. People don’t think he can shoot. The numbers, I don’t think explain how good of a shooter he is.”
– Tyler Herro on Jimmy Butler
(Via The Miami Herald) pic.twitter.com/FXNSIvQGhs
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) March 30, 2022
Numbers to Note
Chicago 29-19 against Eastern Conference opponents, averaging a score of 111.7 points per game and 48.1 percent shooting from the field.
Meanwhile, Miami is 31-16 in Eastern Conference play, averaging 109.3 points per game at 46.4 percent shooting.
Last 10 games:
- averaging 107.9 points, 39.2 rebounds, 23.3 assists, 6.8 steals, 3.0 blocks
- shooting 46.2% from the field
- opponents average: 114.4 points
- averaging 108.3 points, 41.7 rebounds, 24.0 assists, 6.5 steals, 2.8 blocks
- shooting 46.5% from the field
- opponents average: 107.4 points
The Bulls and the Heat will face off for the fourth time this season. In their last matchup on March 1, the Heat won 112-99.
Gabe Vincent and Herro scored 20 points apiece for Miami, while Butler and Adebayo put up 15 points each. LaVine led the Bulls with 22 points, while Ayo Dosunmu scored 18 and Nikola Vucevic added 14. DeRozan’s streak of 10 consecutive games scoring 30 or more points ended as he finished with 18.
After leading in the No.1 seed for much of the earlier season, the Bulls are eager to defeat Miami who currently holds the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The tension will be high in the United Center on Saturday night as both teams battle it out on the court for the victory.