Battle for East Playoff Position Continues as Miami Visits Chicago
The Miami Heat try to keep their spot atop the Eastern Conference standings when they visit the Chicago Bulls, who are also fighting for better playoff positioning. The Heat have won two in a row, including a victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night, and they lead the Milwaukee Bucks by one game for the top spot in the East.
The Bulls have won two in a row and are tied for fifth in the East with the Toronto Raptors, with the Philadelphia 76ers just 1½ games ahead of them. This one is important for both sides, so you’ll want to get all of the insight of our in-depth preview before you decide on how to bet online on the game.
Let’s check the latest news, stats, injury reports, and NBA odds for Heat vs Bulls. We have plenty of predictions for you to consider.
Heat Continue To Hang on to Top Spot
After a four-game losing streak that included some in-fighting on the team during a loss, the Miami Heat looked like they would be moving down the standings in the Eastern Conference. But Miami has won two in a row to reclaim the inside track to the top seed in the East playoffs, with the team feeling more confident in itself after the rough patch.
“We’ve gotten a lot better of knowing where the ball has to go,” Miami forward Jimmy Butler said after Wednesday’s win over the Boston Celtics. “Putting everybody in the position that they need to be in to be successful.”
Butler sets the tone for the Heat on both ends of the floor with his intensity, and he’s leading the team with 21.3 points per game. Butler is also a top defender, averaging 1.7 steals while also adding 5.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists per contest.
Veteran guard Kyle Lowry has been through the playoff wars and will be a key to Miami’s hopes in this postseason, his first with the Heat. Lowry is averaging 13.2 points and 7.5 assists in 60 games, but he came up with a big 23 points and eight assists in the road win against Boston.
Center Bam Adebayo is also a major presence for the Heat on both ends of the floor, averaging a double-double of 19.0 points and 10.3 rebounds. Adebayo’s scoring on the interior helps open things up for the Heat’s shooters on the perimeter.
Bulls Still Have Work To Do
The Chicago Bulls are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2017 – back when Butler was leading the way – but they would prefer to do it as a host of a first-round series than as a play-in tournament participant. Chicago still has a chance to catch the Philadelphia 76ers for fourth in the East, but it could also fall into seventh place, especially with games against Milwaukee and Boston on the schedule after this one.
To avoid falling in the standings, the Bulls need more games from DeMar DeRozan like the one he had on Thursday. DeRozan scored a season-high 50 points in Chicago’s overtime win over the LA Clippers, and he’s been the team’s go-to guy when games are close in the fourth. DeRozan is averaging 28.0 points per game this season, ranking sixth in the league, while also contributing 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists.
Chicago would like to see guard Zach LaVine get going as well. LaVine is averaging 24.6 points per game but has been dealing with a knee injury that has him listed as probable for Saturday’s game.
The Bulls will look for some production from center Nikola Vucevic in this one as well. Vucevic will have a size advantage against Adebayo, but he’s averaged just 10.3 points in three games against the Heat this season. Vucevic is scoring 18.1 points per game overall as well as ranking eighth in the league in rebounding at 11.2 per contest.
Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls Head-to-Head
The Miami Heat have won all three of their meetings with the Chicago Bulls, with the last two victories coming by double-digits. The one close game was a three-point affair in Chicago in late November.
The Heat have dominated this rivalry of late, taking 12 of the last 14 matchups dating back to the 2017-18 season. Even though the Bulls are playing at home, Miami’s history of success against Chicago is why the NBA lines give the slight edge to the visiting team in this one.
Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls Game Information
- Game: Miami Heat (49-28) at Chicago Bulls (45-32)
- Location: United Center
- Day/Time: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET
- Stream: NBA League Pass
Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls Betting Lines
Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls Prediction
The Miami Heat have been starting to put things together and have plenty to play for in this one, but we have a good feeling about the Chicago Bulls. Chicago is getting healthy and is playing well at home, winning three straight at the United Center. DeRozan and LaVine have big games as the Bulls get a big win.
When doing your NBA betting, take Chicago to get the win at home.