Nikola Stock – Heat sprint to big lead, hold off Bulls
EditorsNote: 6th graf, change Adebayo rebounds to 6; a few smaller changes elsewhere
Duncan Robinson scored a team-high 23 points and Jimmy Butler scored nine of his 20 points in the fourth quarter as the host Miami Heat held on for a 106-101 win over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.
Miami led by as many as 24 points before Chicago cut its deficit to three points with 7:09 left in the fourth quarter. But the Bulls didn’t get any closer until a Coby White dunk with 15.8 seconds left cut Miami’s lead to 103-101.
Kendrick Nunn then made two free throws with 12.7 seconds left to ice the game.
Chicago was led by Nikola Vucevic, who had 26 points, a game-high 14 rebounds and a team-high six assists. In 33 career games against Miami, he has 19 double-doubles, including eight out of the past nine.
White added a game-high 31 points for the Bulls.
Miami also got 22 points from Nunn and 20 points, a game-high 10 assists and six rebounds from Bam Adebayo.
The Heat (32-29) will host the Bulls (25-35) again on Monday night. The Heat are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, putting them in the play-in picture for teams seven through 10. Chicago is in 11th place, just one game behind the Washington Wizards in the play-in picture.
Miami played without guards Tyler Herro (foot) and Goran Dragic (back, knee), who had both competed in the Heat’s previous game. Those two players have combined this season to average 27.9 points per game.
Even so, Miami, led by Robinson, raced to a 17-6 lead early in the game. Robinson went 4-for-4 on 3-pointers in those first four-plus minutes. By the end of the quarter, Miami led 33-18.
The Heat led by as many as 24 points in the second quarter before settling for a 61-41 advantage at halftime. Miami was the aggressor in the first half, grabbing a 24-15 rebound edge and making 11-for-11 from the foul line. Chicago got just one free throw (1-for-1).
Chicago’s 8-0 third-quarter run cut the Bulls’ deficit to 68-54. However, by the end of the period, Miami led 80-61.
The Bulls started the fourth on a 13-3 run, cutting their deficit to a single digit for the first time in the second half. But the Heat, thanks in large part to Butler, held on for the victory.
–Field Level Media