GAME PREVIEW: Heat look to split season series with the Bulls 2-2 in Miami

Haywood Highsmith is expected to return for Saturday’s game against the Bulls. (Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)

Game story:

The 14-11 Miami Heat will get another crack at the visiting Chicago Bulls tonight. It will be the second game in a row and the last game of the season played against the Bulls, as the Heat will try to split the season series against them 2-2.

After stringing together two consecutive wins against the Charlotte Hornets, the Heat struggled on Thursday night against Chicago.

It was the second night of a back-to-back and the team was still down 3 starters, however that is slightly changing for tonight.

Both Haywood Highsmith (back) and Josh Richardson (back spasms) are off the injury report and available tonight.

It should definitely be expected that Highsmith gets slotted right back into the starting PF role, where the team showed some success early on in the season where he held down that role.

Miami went on a seven-game winning streak with Highsmith as the starter. He provides elite versatility, defense, effort and ability to stretch the floor.

That insertion could move Caleb Martin back into his more comfortable wing position off the bench. However, it is unclear so far if Highsmith is for sure the starter again or if coach Spoelstra will opt to work him back into the rotation off the bench and keep Martin as the starter.

Highsmith hasn’t seen consistent game action in over a couple weeks.

Richardson is also a key piece that the team will be happy to have back, and was getting into a groove offensively before sitting out the last 2 games.

Tyler Herro is very close to his long-anticipated return from his ankle sprain. The young guard has missed over 5 weeks going all the way back to the Heat’s win in Memphis against the Grizzlies on November 8.

Herro is aiming for a Monday or Wednesday return, and it should very much be expected for him to go back to his starting shooting guard role as well. He was having a career year statistically on both ends of the floor prior to the injury.

This could be moving Duncan Robinson to the bench, but with the year Robinson is having, he could thrive and provide a huge boost off the bench. This is a very deep Heat team, and Heat fans are very close to possibly seeing the team at full strength.

Bam Adebayo is also not too far behind Herro for his lineup return as well.

The Heat lost to this same Bulls team the other night 124-116. At one point early on in the game, Miami was down 25 points. They clawed back resiliently and got a good spark from the undrafted two-way players Jamal Cain and RJ Hampton, but it wasn’t enough as they just came up a little short of pulling off the comeback.

Jimmy Butler led with a 22 PT, 7 RBD and 7 AST performance.

Kyle Lowry also added 17 PTS and Caleb Martin had a 17 PT, 11 RBD double-double as the starting PF.

Off the bench, Jaime Jaquez Jr. was impressive with 22 PTS and Kevin Love added 16 and 9.

The biggest problem was Chicago center and former Orlando Magic Heat killer, Nikola Vucevic. He recorded 24 PTS, 12 boards and 7 ASTS. Miami will have to do a better job at containing him tonight.

Tonight’s game will tip off at 8:00 PM ET on Bally Sports Florida.

Injury Report (at the time of this publishing):

Miami Heat:

  • Nikola Jovic (g league) — Questionable
  • Bam Adebayo (hip) — OUT
  • Tyler Herro (ankle) — OUT
  • Dru Smith (knee) — OUT

Chicago Bulls:

  • Alex Caruso (ankle) — Questionable
  • Lonzo Ball (knee) — OUT
  • Zach Lavine (foot) — OUT
  • Justin Lewis (g league) — OUT
  • Adama Sanogo (g league) — OUT
  • Onuralp Bitim (g league) — OUT

Projected Starting 5:

Miami Heat:

  • Kyle Lowry, G
  • Duncan Robinson, G
  • Jimmy Butler, F
  • Haywood Highsmith, F
  • Orlando Robinson, C

Chicago Bulls:

  • Alex Caruso, G
  • Coby White, G
  • DeMar DeRozan, F
  • Patrick Williams, F
  • Nikola Vucevic, C

Betting Lines (at the time of this publishing):

Broadcast Info:

  • Tipoff: 8:00 PM EST
  • TV: Bally Sports Sun (Eric Reid, John Crotty)
  • Radio: AM 560 Sports WQAM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson)
  • Spanish Radio: WAQI 710 AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)

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heat for life

i say the heat would be better with rj than turtle my opinion


What about PF? Any thoughts?


“We’re #12! We’re #12! Not bad for a team without two 20+ PPG starters out. Several teams at bottom could be looking to trade over the next several weeks.

heat for life

ball caruso and lavine out


Last game too and looked what happened. Chicago playing better without Lavine than with him. They want to trade him but no takers. Oh well.

heat for life

heat play better w/o ty.ball moves

Reality Czech

They are 10-7 without Herro this season. Last season, they were 7-8 without him. Your position doesn’t hold much water. Or facts. As usual.

heat for life

thats the way i see it .he gets hurt milw series last year what happened.hes a one on one james harden zach lavine type player.talented players that dont really make your TEAM better


JRich, Jaquez, Caleb, Love, Robinson should provide a good spark off the bench.

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