Sunday, May 19, 2024

Evidence Surfaces That Miami Has Already Planned For Matchup With Celtics

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Tonight at 6:00 CST in Miami, the Heat will host the Chicago Bulls with the final spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs on the line. This will punch the victor’s ticket to visit the number one seed beginning Sunday afternoon in Boston, where the 64-18 top-seeded Celtics will host the start of a seven-game series. This morning, a local radio host in South Florida leaked some information about the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls that could incriminate each team’s plans after tonight’s win-or-go-home scenario. Without Jimmy Butler, this contest has become a much tighter debate, and in the rematch from a year ago, much of Chicago’s roster could play their final game in the red and black.

Miami Has Booked A Flight To Boston

While it is not uncommon for teams to book flights before the game’s results in a precautionary fashion, this seems a bit presumptuous for the Heat. Coming off a game where they blew a double-digit lead in the second half, now without their six-time NBA All-Star leader in clutch scoring who dragged them to the NBA Finals a year ago, the odds have gotten slim. While they are still the favorites by sportsbooks, they have decreased considerably since Butler’s announced absence.

If nothing else, hopefully, this news has snuck into Chicago’s locker room for extra bulletin board material. Fresh off handily defeating the Atlanta Hawks behind a career-high 42 points from Coby White, they’re as confident as possible for a do-or-die situation. Last season, this matchup ended in a scoring barrage from Max Strus, who is no longer with the Heat, and a late surge by Butler, who combined 62 of Miami’s 102 points in the victory. They’d continue to tear through the entire Eastern Conference on their way to an NBA Finals loss to the back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic and company.

Chicago’s Keys To Victory

The Bulls have been given a bit of relief for tonight’s clash in Miami, seeing as the Heat don’t have their best player and arguably the most clutch player of the last few years in situations like tonight. If they’re going to advance into the NBA Playoffs for the second time in seven seasons, here’s a few things that need to happen for Chicago.

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  1. Containing Tyler Herro – Herro is practically Miami’s only potent scoring option left. He’s got a career-high of 41, has scored 20 or more points per game for three consecutive seasons, and his near 40% career three-point percentage makes him a threat from range in bunches. Ayo Dosunmu will likely get the starting nod and draw Herro’s assignment if Caruso cannot go (game-time decision).
  2. Man In The Middle – Bam Adebayo is Miami’s most underutilized and inconsistent threat on a nightly basis. He took just nine shots in their loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday night, but without Butler, look for that number to be closer to 15 or 20 tonight. If Nikola Vucevic and Andre Drummond own the glass and contain Adebayo, Chicago’s chances of victory skyrocket.
  3. DeMar-velous DeRozan – Expecting another 42-point outing from Coby White is unrealistic, but needing clutch buckets out of their veteran leader is not. DeRozan will be tasked with carrying the Bulls in the fourth quarter and will need to take and make clutch shots down the stretch if Chicago wants to will their way into the playoffs.

The season series was split 2-2, and tonight’s rubber match will give one team their entry into the postseason and send one team to an early exit into the offseason. Can Chicago pull off the road victory and keep their season alive?

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blockwood9
blockwood9
Apr 19, 2024 2:16 pm

Which team will show up to the game tonight? Watching the game against Atlanta was great entertainment.

Without Miami’s best player, the Bulls may finally get to the post season. Even though it’s Boston, it will be nice to see playoff basketball again for Bulls fans.

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