GAME PREVIEW: Heat host Chicago Bulls with the season on the line in final play-in game

Tyler Herro was the team’s leading scorer in Wednesday’s play-in loss against Philly, totaling 25 points and 9 assists but on an inefficient 9/27 shooting.

It all comes down to this for the Miami Heat. After losing the 7/8 play-in game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night, the Heat are in a win or go home position on their home floor this evening against the ninth seed Chicago Bulls.

It will be a rematch of last year’s eight seed play-in inside the same exact building. Only major difference is the Heat will be without the services of superstar Jimmy Butler.

Butler went down with a knee injury that was later diagnosed as an MCL sprain, keeping him sidelined for “multiple weeks”.

Miami has no choice but to fight and get the job done without their franchise player. However, they have won games without him this season and coach Erik Spoelstra still has the team’s depth strength to work with to find a way to pick up the win.

There will surely be a lot more usage of Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo. The Heat’s All-Star in Adebayo has averaged 22.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists on 53% shooting in games that Butler hasn’t played this season.

Unfortunately, Miami couldn’t receive reinforcements this evening from scoring guard Terry Rozier, who is still out with a neck injury.

Duncan Robinson is listed as Probable again with his left facet back injury. He was “available” during the last game but saw no court time at all. Having him playing at least close to the level that fans are accustomed to seeing from him would be huge for this team in this type of game. Robinson’s floor spreading abilities and improved playmaking could give a much needed jolt to the offense, especially when being undermanned.

The visiting Bulls are coming off a strong win in which they eliminated the Atlanta Hawks from playoff contention. They have the star talents of DeMar DeRozan and most improved player of the year candidate Coby White.

White is coming off a 42/9/6 dominant outing in that Hawks game, becoming the second highest scoring Bulls player in a playoff game since Michael Jordan. If the Heat have any chance of pulling this off, White needs to be contained and countered by Tyler Herro’s offense.

The winner of this game will go on to fly to Boston to face the top seed Celtics on Sunday afternoon for the start of a first round playoff series. Everybody will see what this Miami team is really made of tonight. Let’s get this W for 22.

Tip-off set for 7:00 PM EST on ESPN.

Injury Report (at the time of this publishing):

Miami Heat:

  • Duncan Robinson (facet) — PROBABLE
  • Jimmy Butler (MCL) — OUT
  • Terry Rozier (neck) — OUT
  • Josh Richardson (surgery) — OUT

Chicago Bulls:

  • Alex Caruso (ankle) — QUESTIONABLE
  • Andre Drummond (ankle) — QUESTIONABLE
  • Ayo Dosunmu (quad) — QUESTIONABLE
  • Patrick Williams (surgery) — OUT
  • Lonzo Ball (knee) — OUT
  • Zach Lavine (surgery) — OUT
  • Julian Phillips (midfoot) — OUT
  • Onuralp Bitim (retinal) — OUT

Projected Starting 5 (subject to change):

Miami Heat:

  • Tyler Herro, G
  • Duncan Robinson, G
  • Caleb Martin, F
  • Nikola Jovic, F
  • Bam Adebayo, C

Chicago Bulls:

  • Alex Caruso, G
  • Coby White, G
  • DeMar DeRozan, F
  • Ayo Dosunmu, F
  • Nikola Vucevic, C

Betting Lines:

  • Check the current odds out at FanDuel!

Broadcast Info:

  • Tipoff: 7:00 PM EST
  • TV: ESPN (Mike Breen, Dorris Burke, JJ Redick)
  • Radio: AM 560 Sports WQAM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson)
  • Spanish Radio: WAQI 710 AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)

Come back to Hot Hot Hoops at game time to join our GameThread and chat about the game live with other Heat fans!

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Max Pain

I’m concerned about Tyler (who’s not a pg) handling the ball so much for the 1st unit.
I’d feel a lot better if Spo started Delon in place of Caleb.

I think Delon should play at least 35 mins tonight.
Without Terry and Jimmy, he’s currently our best decision maker with the ball.
His steadiness should bring a calm to the 1st unit.


Its time to shine.
Go Heat.

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