The daily preview it to the rim with NBA tips as Eastern Conference high-flyers Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat meet for the third time this season.
11:30 (AEDT), Tue 1st Mar @ FTX Arena, Miami
History: Played 151: Bulls 78 V Heat 73
Last meeting: December 11, 2021: Heat 118 d Bulls 92 at FTX Arena
Final Thoughts: First hosts second in this Eastern Conference blockbuster as Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls attempt to stay in front of the higher-profile teams in the chasing pack.
The 40-21 Heat surged to top spot courtesy of eight wins from their last nine games. They came out of the All-Star break with wins over the Knicks (115-100) and Spurs (133-129) on consecutive days. His injury problems firmly behind him, Bam Adebayo erupted for a season-high 36 points against the Spurs (plus 7 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl, 3 blk), while Jimmy Butler and bench sharpshooter Tyler Herro both put up 27 points.
Kyle Lowry has been outstanding for the Heat this season but will miss this clash for personal reasons. Gabe Vincent will start in the back-court with Duncan Robinson.
After a patchy month that garnered seven wins in 18 games, the Bulls have rebounded to a 39-22 record with six wins from their last seven outings. Chicago came out of the break with a 112-108 defeat of the Hawks, before going down to the Grizzlies 116-110 two days ago.
DeMar DeRozan has emerged as an MVP smoky, scoring at least 31 points in the Bulls’ last 10 games (and 35-plus in eight of those). Big man Nikola Vucevic averages 17.9 points and 11.7 rebounds this season, while Zach LaVine is scoring 24.6 points a game. Vucevic is listed as day-to-day, however, and Lonzo Ball and Patrick Williams are both still sidelined.
The Heat have won 12 of their last 15 against the Bulls, including both encounters so far this season. After squeaking in 107-104 in Chicago in November, a Butler-less Heat powered to a 119-92 victory at home in December with Duncan Robinson (26 pts), Dewayne Dedmon (20 pts, 12 reb) and Kyle Lowry (16 pts, 14 ast) starring. Zach LaVine scored 33 points in a beaten Bulls outfit.
The Heat are 20-7 at home this season (14-13 ATS) but have split their last four games at FTX Arena. The Bulls are 15-13 on the road (14-13-1 ATS), winning only three of their last nine away.
Chicago are $2.50 outsiders here, but the difference could be DeRozan’s blistering form and the absence of his former Raptors partner-in-crime Lowry. The Bulls look great value here and are hard to resist at a juicy head-to-head price.
Best Bet: Result – Bulls @ $2.50
Same Game Multi: Handicap – Bulls +4.5; Total – Over 222.5; Bam Adebayo Points – Over 20.5; DeMar DeRozan – Over 30.5 @ $11.37