The Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat will square off this Saturday in what should be a thrilling up-and-down battle in Windy City.
Catch this game live on Saturday, March 13, at 10 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Chicago Bulls (16-18, 7-11 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Coby White
- SG: Zach LaVine
- PF: Patrick Williams
- PF: Lauri Markkanen
- C: Wendell Carter Jr.
The Bulls lost to the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, 127-105, at home, but there’s something to feel good about for Chicago, as Lauri Markkanen made his way back to action and scored 23 points on 8-11 FG, while knocking down all seven shots from downtown.
Even with the Sixers not having Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, the Bulls looked like they couldn’t figure things out defensively. Chicago’s defense will always leave its fans covering their eyes, but scoring points isn’t a problem for this team despite putting up just 105 points against Philly. With Markkanen back and looking great, the Bulls will be a threat on that end of the floor to Miami, which will have to deal with a sweet-shooting seven-footer.
The backcourt of Coby White and All-Star Zach LaVine isn’t too shabby, and is arguably better than the starting backcourt of Kendrick Nunn-Duncan Robinson of the Heat.
As a team, Chicago is third in the NBA with a 48.6 FG% and seventh in shooting efficiency with 1.171 points per possession. The Bulls have covered the spread in four of their last five games on zero days of rest.
ROAD TEAM: Miami Heat (18-18, 8-10 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- SG: Kendrick Nunn
- SG: Duncan Robinson
- SF: Jimmy Butler
- PF: Bam Adebayo
- C: Kelly Olynyk
It wasn’t pretty but the Heat got the job done on Friday, beating the Orlando Magic at home for a 111-103 win, thus pushing Miami above .500.
The Heat didn’t have Bam Adebayo for that game, as the big man was ruled out due to a knee issue, and his availability for Saturday’s showdown with Chicago is currently up in the air. In Adebayo’s absence, Miami opted to give heavy minutes to Kelly Olynyk against the Magic and got 20 points on 7 of 20 shooting from the former Gonzaga Bulldogs star.
Adebayo’s injury doesn’t seem anything to be overly concerned about, as Miami might just be being careful with his workload. Adebayo could be back in action as soon as this Saturday to help Miami on both ends of the floor.
Miami should be able to take advantage of the Bulls’ broken-turnstile defense that is allowing 115.2 points per game (25th). Miami bettors have been profiting off the team when it’s in Windy City, as the Heat are 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games as a road team versus the Bulls.
Miami plays with more sense of cohesion than the Bulls, who can be all over the place on offense and defense. But there could be more stability now for the Bulls, with Markkanen getting a feel of the action again. Miami will end up winning the game, but the Bulls cover the +3.
The Heat aren’t a high-scoring team, relatively speaking, but because Chicago plays as though defense is just an option, expect Miami to rack up enough points to surpass its season average. Take the over 220.
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