The 8th seed – the last playoff slot in the East – was up for grabs today. The winner between the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls will earn the right to face the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs.
While it’s safe to say that the Bucks will definitely win the upcoming first round series against either team, the Heat and the Bulls were clearly not thinking about their impending foe yet as both teams were in a dogfight against each other for the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
As expected by many analysts and fans, the game was relatively tight right from the start. Some key players from both teams were struggling throughout the game such as Miami’s Bam Adebayo and Chicago’s Zach Lavine.
The teams traded baskets during the final minutes of the fourth quarter. It was a very physical affair as Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler continued to attack the basket and Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan orchestrated their team’s offense.
After a hot start in the first half, Miami Heat sharpshooter Max Strus caught fire in the late stages of the final period, draining threes and getting fouled while attempting a three pointer on the left corner. He ended with seven three pointers made for a total of 31 points to lead the Heat in scoring. Jimmy Butler also scored 22 second half points, ending up with 31 in the win.
The Bulls were led by DeRozan’s 26 points. After scoring 39 points versus the Raptors a couple of days ago, Zach Lavine only shot 6 out of 21 in this crucial game while missing all of his three point attempts, scoring a meager 15 points in the loss.
The Miami Heat moves on to face Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Chicago’s season has ended and it may be time for a full rebuild as their current crop of stars are clearly not close to delivering another championship for the Windy City.