The Miami Heat look to continue their hot play when they visit the Chicago Bulls for a Friday night contest.
If you talked to the fans outside of either one of these cities prior to the beginning of the season, you would have likely heard they would be in a similar boat. Well, the Heat may be the league’s most pleasant surprise. In their first year of the post-Dwyane Wade era, they have started 10-3, getting help from every player on the floor. The new additions have played great ball, and the amount of ball movement that goes into every possession makes them must-see. It’s fantastic for the league to see a team like this.
Chicago, on the other hand, has been disappointing once again, starting 5-10 and looking like it has made no progress since last year. This was the kind of start that got Fred Hoiberg fired in 2018-19, and though he signed an extension over the summer, Jim Boylan’s job is definitely not safe. Zach LaVine has taken a step back, while the small forward spot has seen significant injuries for Chicago. Lauri Markkanen also seems to have regressed, leaving rookie Coby White as one of the biggest bright spots.
The visiting Heat are 4.5-point favorites Friday night. The over/under is set at 216.5.
Miami Trying To Keep It Rolling
The Heat rank 13th in the league in scoring despite having only one healthy proven scorer in their starting lineup, while ranking sixth in scoring defense. Justise Winslow continues to sit with a concussion, while Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro continue to prove that rookies can be stars too. Nunn is averaging 17 points per game while shooting 48 percent from the floor, while Herro is averaging 14 points, four boards, and three assists while shooting 40 percent from deep. Jimmy Butler has averaged 19 points, six rebounds and seven assists, proving to be the perfect leader for this scrappy bunch. And Meyers Leonard has given them good minutes next to Bam Adebayo up front.
Miami leads the league in effective field-goal percentage. Also, Duncan Robinson was a Division III player four years ago, but he made nine threes against the Cavs in the Heat’s last game, proving his worth.
Chicago Looking For An Upset
Chicago enters with the No. 21 ranking in points per game and is 15th in points allowed. The Bulls play up-tempo ball, with the ninth-fastest pace in the league, though it doesn’t seem to suit them. When you look at Zach LaVine and his 20 points, four rebounds and four assists per game, you would think it was solid, but considering how he played a year ago, this is bad because it shows how he has not gotten better, but worse from his 2018-19 performance. Wendell Carter Jr. is averaging 13 and 10, proving to be a strong contributor, while White is scoring 13 points per game.
Defense will be the key for the Bulls winning Friday night. If they can get stops early and often and be within striking distance in the final six minutes, they’ll have a shot.
Heat Get Their 11th Win
Another victory for Miami! No Justise, no problem. Eric Spoelstra’s guys are now 11-3.
Free Play: MIA -4.5
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