HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT)- The NBA Play-In Tournament will wrap up on Friday night. The remaining four teams will play for both the Eastern and Western conferences 8 seeds.
Here we will take a look at the Eastern Conference matchup between the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls. The Heat are coming off a loss where they were dominated by the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks outrebounded the Heat 63-39 on Tuesday night, which could be seen as the biggest reason the Heat lost on Tuesday night.
The Chicago Bulls defeated the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night, barely staying alive in the playoff hunt. The Bulls were down big for most of the game, but between Zach Lavine getting hot and the Raptors only hitting 50% of their free throws, the Bulls were able to pull it out.
The Heat and Bulls are very different stylistically. The Heat are slow, but they love ball movement and are extremely gritty on defense. The Bulls love isolations, and outside of a few players in their rotation, they aren’t a very good defensive team.
The Heat are led by Jimmy Bulter, Kyle Lowry, and former Kentucky Wildcat Bam Abebayo. Big chunks of their 2020 Eastern Conference champion roster still remain, including another former UK Wildcat in Tyler Herro.
Max Strus, Caleb Martin, Duncan Robinson, and former IU Hoosier Cody Zeller will all likely see minutes in this matchup. This could also be the final game for longtime Heat player Udonis Haslem.
The Chicago Bulls still have the talent to be a problem for teams in the playoffs. DeMar DeRozan, Zach Lavine, and Nikola Vučević still make up the core of a team that has disappointed for a variety of reasons this year.
The Bulls need those three and some combination of Alex Caruso, Ayo Dosunmu, Coby White, Patrick Beverley, and Patrick Williams to play well in order to beat the Heat.
Beverley and Caruso were both huge last night in the Bulls’ victory, causing havoc at the defensive end and providing energy when it seemed like the Bulls were defeated.
The Heat are favored in this matchup.
There are several countries represented in this game. The United States, Canada, Montenegro, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom are all represented in this game.
The game tips off at 6:00 p.m. on Friday.