The Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls clash to claim the eighth seed for the second-straight year. Unfortunately for the Heat, though, they’ll have to do it without Jimmy Butler, who’s out with a torn MCL. The season series was split at two games apiece.

Catch the game tomorrow at  7:00 AM, Manila time.


AWAY: Chicago Bulls (39-43, 19-22 AWAY)

Projected starting five:

  • Coby White
  • Ayo Dosunmu / Alex Caruso (day-to-day)
  • DeMar DeRozan
  • Javonte Green
  • Nikola Vucevic

The Bulls advanced after easing past the Atlanta Hawks in the 9 vs. 10 play-in game, 131-116. It was a great all-around effort as they shot 56.8% from the floor and only turned the ball over seven times despite having an unusual fast-paced attack. There’s no doubt Coby White shined the brightest, though, as he poured in a season-high 42 points on 15-of-21 shooting.

While it’s obviously DeMar DeRozan’s team (24.0 PPG in the reg season), White has been on a roll all season, and should be eyed closely. He started at 11.6 PPG in his first 14 games, and went 20.7 PPG over his final 65 games of the season. The two also led the way during th season head-to-head vs. MIA, with DeRozan having 22.0 PPG on 55.1 FG% and White at 20.5 PPG and 6.0 APG. Big man Nikola Vucevic is at third with 17.3 PPG and 9.8 RPG.

Alex Caruso is day-to-day as he injured his ankle in the game against the Hawks.

The Bulls averaged 110.5 PPG in their season series with the Heat.

HOME: Miami Heat (46-36, 24-17 AWAY)

Projected starting five:

  • Tyler Herro
  • Caleb Martin
  • Jimmy Butler (out) / Jaime Jaquez Jr. 
  • Nikola Jovic
  • Bam Adebayo

The Heat blew a 13-point second-half lead to the Philadelphia 76ers in the 7 vs 8 play-in game, and lost, 105-104. What really sucked, however, is Jimmy Butler tore his MCL and will be out multiple weeks. The 34-year-old is the team’s heart and soul, and his absence is also on top of other injuries, including Terry Rozier and Duncan Robinson, so Miami’s season is virtually over – if not tomorrow, most probably in the next week or so.

Adebayo put up 23.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG, and 5.5 APG in four meetings with the Bulls this season, and should be featured heavily again. Tyler Herro was unavailable in all of the team’s games vs. Chicago this season, but is sure to have a wider role with Butler out. He hopes to have a better shooting night as he only went 9-of-27 against Philly. Rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. is next to Bam in the head-to-head numbers at 16.3 PPG.

We’ll see how well the rest of the supporting cast respond, namely Caleb Martin, Haywood Highsmith, Kevin Love, Patty Mills, and Thomas Bryant.


Spread: Bulls (+2)

Over/Under: Under (205)