The story of this start to the match is a rather unexpected duel between Alex Caruso (8 pts) and Max Strus (12 pts). But it is the latter, author of all the points of the Heat at 4/5 to 3-pointers, which allows his people to be slightly ahead (12-10). Passed completely through his subject in the last game, Jimmy Butler gets going, and allows Miami to achieve the first gap of the game (23-13). In lack of offensive inspiration, the Bulls are only 8 points behind at the end of the 1st quarter (29-21).
Under the leadership of Demar DeRozan, Chicago started the second quarter very well. On a 3-point shot signed Alex Caruso, the Bulls come back to a very small point (31-30). Carried by an exceptional Max Strus, author of 23 points, Miami returns to the locker room with a 5-point lead (49-44).
Thanks to a basket concluded with the fault of Jimmy Butler, the Heat recovers 10 points from the start of the third quarter (54-44). Chicago responded quickly, going 12-2. The match is restarted, the Bulls are tied (56-56). The game becomes pleasant as the two teams do not let go of the score. At the start of the final quarter, Chicago leads 68-67.
On a sublime move concluded with the fault, Demar DeRozan offers 4 points in advance to the Bulls (76-72). Six minutes from time, the momentum is on the side of Chicago, Billy Donovan’s players lead by 5 points (85-80). But here, carried by the will of Jimmy Butler, the Heat does not let go, and returns to equality (85-85). Two minutes from the end, Miami leads by one point, and the atmosphere is more than tense in the room (91-90). The hero of the evening will be called Max Strus. On a new 3-point basket, he gives the Heat a 5-point lead (96-91). This is the blow for the Bulls. Miami wins at the end of the suspense 102-91 and will challenge the Bucks in the first round of the playoffs.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– The evening of Max Strus. There are evenings when sport tips over into the irrational, evenings when the hero is not the one expected. We all remember Grant Williams’ Game 7 against the Bucks last year. Forget Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo or even Tyler Herro, tonight it was Max Strus who donned the hero’s cape. In a “win or go home” with a ticket to the playoffs at stake, he probably achieved the best performance of his career with 31 points at 8/16 shooting including 7/12 from 3-pointers, as well as the best +/- of the match with +27. A heroic and unexpected performance to send the Heat to the playoffs, please.
– Kyle Lowry hurt? He went out early in the 4th quarter, then never came back. The first news speaks of knee pain. And when we know that it is for this same reason that he had been sidelined for a long time this season, it is logical that concern reigns. However, after the meeting, Erik Spoelstra announced that the Heat point guard had told him that he was fine, and that he will be reassessed tomorrow. To monitor …
– Bucks vs. Heat. With this success, Miami takes 8th place, and will challenge Milwaukee in the first round of the playoffs. This is the third time in four years that the two teams have met in the postseason. In 2020, the Heat had won the first set (4-1), before the Bucks took revenge the following season (4-0). For whom the 3rd round?
✅ Jimmy Butler. Little in sight in the first half, he took things completely in hand after returning from the locker room, keeping his people in the match, especially during the highlights of the Bulls. He finished with 31 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a +/- of +18!
✅ Demar DeRozan. In an all-important game, he answered the call with 26 points and 9 assists.*
✅⛔️ Bam Adebayo. Despite his 17 rebounds and his impact in defense, he passes through on offense: 1/9 in shooting over the whole game.
⛔️ Zach LaVine. Nightmarish evening for him with 6/21 shooting including 0/6 from 3-point …
Travel to the Bucks for Game 1, Sunday at 11:30 p.m.
How to read the stats? Min = Minutes; Shots = Shots made / Shots attempted; 3pts = 3-points / 3-points attempted; LF = free throws made / free throws attempted; O = offensive rebound; D= defensive rebound; T = Total Bounces; Pd = assists; Fte: Personal fouls; Int = Intercepts; Bp = Lost bullets; Ct: Counters; +/- = Point differential when the player is on the field; Points = Points; Eval: player evaluation calculated from positive actions – negative actions.