Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat: Preview and prediction

Jimmy Butler, Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Jimmy Butler, Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

After losing at home to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Chicago Bulls (39-22) will travel to FTX Arena on Monday to face the Miami Heat (40-21) in a marquee match between the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

The night was historic for both teams, as Ja Morant dropped a franchise-record 46 points, snapping the Bulls’ six-game winning streak and carrying his team to victory. However, the Bulls fell to 0-2 this season against the Grizzlies.

The loss also snapped DeMar DeRozan‘s NBA-record eight-game streak of 35-point games with at least 50% shooting. DeRozan still finished his 10th consecutive game scoring at least 30, one game shy of Michael Jordan’s record.

However, the Bulls have bigger problems to worry about as they’ll face another top team, this time in their own conference. The Heat won the last two meetings this season, crushing the Bulls 118-92 in their last matchup. Miami comes into the game with a three-game winning streak, following a 133-129 victory at home against the San Antonio Spurs.

The Heat were also able to close out the victory without Jimmy Butler playing the fourth quarter, extending their 20-7 record at home.

Although the Bulls are yet to have a losing month this season, they have struggled when facing top teams in the league. Currently, the Bulls are 6-14 against the top-six teams in both conferences, according to NBC Sports.

Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat: Preview and Prediction

Although there has been significant optimism with the recent positive injury updates, the Bulls come into Miami shorthanded, with Alex Caruso, Lonzo Ball, and Patrick Williams all out with injuries.

Nikola Vucevic is probable for Monday’s game after suffering a sprained ankle against the Grizzlies but is still expected to play, according to CBS Sports.

Markieff Morris and Victor Oladipo are out with injuries for Miami while Caleb Martin is questionable due to left Achilles soreness. Starting point guard Kyle Lowry is also out for the Heat for personal reasons, according to the Miami Herald.

Chicago has a couple of tasks they could improve upon in the game following their loss against Memphis.

First, the Grizzlies outrebounded the Bulls 61-41, with Steven Adams pulling down 21 rebounds. The Bulls have recently added Tristan Thompson, who has averaged 8 points and 5 rebounds for the Bulls thus far. Adding Thompson may help the Bulls account for their lack of size against the Heat, especially dealing with Dwayne Dedmon and Bam Adebayo, who are averaging 10.3 and 6.2 rebounds per game respectively.

Secondly, Vucevic will have to alleviate his bout of offensive inconsistency after shooting 5-of-17 from the field and going 0-of-5 from deep against the Grizzlies.

Defensively, the Bulls will definitely look to limit Duncan Robinson, who scored 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field during their last meeting. Butler will also be a defensive focus for the Bulls, who is averaging 25 points in his last two games.

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Although the Bulls have found success this season relying on their All-Star duo, this game will certainly be a sampling of what type of competition they will face in the playoffs.

Final score prediction: Bulls-112, Heat-105