Wednesday, December 6, 2023
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NBA Preview: Miami Heat (8-5) at Chicago Bulls (5-9)

A fourth-quarter rally helped the Chicago Bulls stop the Miami Heat’s seven-game winning streak on Saturday.

Now the Bulls hope the momentum can steer them toward earning consecutive victories for the first time this season.

Host Chicago will aim for that milestone Monday when Miami visits for the second time in three nights.

The Heat raced to a 22-1 first-quarter lead Saturday but couldn’t hang on as the Bulls won 102-97. Miami led until the final minute of the game.

DeRozan led the Bulls with 23 points. Every Chicago starter finished in double figures as the Bulls halted a three-game skid. Nikola Vucevic (15 points), Coby White (14), Zach LaVine (13) and Alex Caruso (11) were the other top scorers.

Twice last week, frenzied finishes nearly allowed the Bulls to score comeback victories against the visiting Orlando Magic. Dull starts ultimately were their undoing, though. The Bulls scored 33 first-half points in both Orlando games and were down 50-40 at the break on Saturday after missing their first 10 attempts from the floor.

Chicago coach Billy Donovan expressed optimism in the uplifting nature of team huddles — a more constructive alternative than finger-pointing.

Still, Donovan said: “It’s great to talk, but we have to go out and do it. I’m glad we were able to overcome it, but it’s certainly a hard way to live doing that.”

Miami, which won every game during its streak by single digits, led by 10 with 8:04 left but was unable to stave off Chicago.

It wasn’t an optimal way to kick off a five-game road trip, the Heat’s previous successes notwithstanding.

Jimmy Butler paced Miami with 25 points, while Duncan Robinson chipped in 17 and seven assists while shooting 4-for-5 from long range.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the Bulls “outplayed us down the stretch.”

After Monday, the Bulls and Heat will close the season series with games Dec. 14 and 16 in Miami.

Chicago has won the past four meetings between the teams, who have split the past 10 games overall.

Vucevic, whose eight rebounds were one shy of Andre Drummond for the team high, has posted double-doubles in four of the past five games against the Heat.

Butler has finished as Miami’s leading scorer in three straight games and four of seven.

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