Miami Heat Defeat Chicago Bulls, Advance to Face Boston Celtics in NBA Playoffs

The Miami Heat clinch NBA playoffs spot without star Jimmy Butler, setting up a rematch with the top-seeded Boston Celtics. Despite injuries, the resilient Heat team led by Tyler Herro and Jaime Jaquez Jr. dominates the Bulls, showcasing their postseason prowess.

Salman Khan
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Miami Heat Defeat Chicago Bulls, Advance to Face Boston Celtics in NBA Playoffs

Miami Heat Defeat Chicago Bulls, Advance to Face Boston Celtics in NBA Playoffs

The Miami Heat secured their spot in the NBA playoffs with a 112-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls in the play-in game on Friday night. Despite playing without injured star Jimmy Butler, the Heat were led by strong performances from Tyler Herro, Jaime Jaquez Jr., and Kevin Love.

Herro finished just shy of a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists, while rookie Jaquez Jr. added 21 points. The Heat took control early, riding a 19-0 run in the first quarter and a 14-0 run in the second half to maintain their lead throughout the game. "We had to earn this," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, expressing his appreciation for the team's collective effort.

The Bulls struggled offensively, shooting only 38% from the field. DeMar DeRozan led Chicago with 22 points, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Heat's dominant performance.

Why this matters: The win sets up a rematch of the last two Eastern Conference finals between the Heat and the top-seeded Boston Celtics. The Celtics, who are the favorites to win the NBA title this season, will have home-court advantage in the series.

Butler, who suffered a right knee sprain in the Heat's previous game against the Philadelphia 76ers, is expected to miss multiple weeks due to the injury. The six-time All-Star averaged 20.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game this season, shooting a career-best 41.4% from beyond the arc.

The Heat have a history of finding ways to win even when facing adversity, as evidenced by their 13-9 record during the regular season when Butler missed games. "We have a lot of competitors in that locker room," said Herro, highlighting the team's resilience and depth.

The first-round playoff series between the Heat and the Celtics is set to begin on Sunday at TD Garden in Boston. The Celtics swept the regular-season series 3-0, but the Heat are known for their grit and competitiveness in the postseason, having eliminated Boston in the playoffs in 2020 and 2023.

Key Takeaways

  • Heat clinched NBA playoffs spot, beat Bulls 112-91 despite Jimmy Butler's injury.
  • Herro, Jaquez Jr., and Love led Heat to victory, with Herro nearly recording a triple-double.
  • Heat will face top-seeded Celtics in first round, as Butler expected to miss multiple weeks.
  • Heat have history of winning despite adversity, going 13-9 without Butler in regular season.
  • Celtics swept regular-season series 3-0, but Heat known for postseason grit and competitiveness.