Beverley puts on a show in victory over Heat
|Sunday, March 19, 2023, 10:00 AM- -|
CHICAGO - I don't know what has gotten into the Chicago Bulls (33-37), but they have once again put themselves in playoff position as they have overtaken the 10th seed in the East. Maybe all this team needed was a PG to run the offense because the team has looked drastically different since acquiring Patrick Beverley.
With the news that Lonzo Ball will need a third knee surgery and might miss another season, the Bulls may need to look into signing Beverley beyond this season. The Bulls are starting to play desperate basketball, but in a good way, as they know, every win is crucial for the playoff hunt.
After picking a very impressive win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, the Bulls returned to the court for the second leg of a back-to-back against the Miami Heat (38-34) Saturday. Some would argue that this was the best game of the season for Chicago as they led by nearly 30 points in the first half before picking up the 113-99 win. Considering how poorly they have played against Miami in the past, this season can be viewed as a success as they went 3-0 against the Heat this season.
For the second consecutive night, it was Demar DeRozan leading the way as he is starting to look like the 2022 version of himself again. After shooting 60% from the field on Friday, DeRozan was back at it again, shooting 66% on 10-15 shooting to finish with a team-high 24 points. DeRozan also added 10 assists for another double-double in the win.
Along with DeRozan was Zach Lavine, who had a much quieter night than fans have seen from him in the past. He may have shot the ball well, but he didn't take many of them as he chipped in with 18 points. The Bulls also received 18 massive points from Coby White off the bench as he picked up four triples in what was a 17-34 night from distance for Chicago.
While those three may have been the leading scorers, the night's big story was the hometown kid Beverley. Beverley added 17 points on a very efficient night from the field, but he took over late in the first half to score 14 consecutive points for his team. That helped set the tone for the rest of the game as he has taken on his new role with a new team by storm.
Rounding out the double-digit scorers for Chicago was Nikola Vucevic with 13 points and 10 rebounds, with Patrick Williams adding 10 points off the bench. Alex Caruso started the game, but reinjured his foot after 10 minutes and didn't return.
As usual, the Heat were led by the former Chicago Bull Jimmy Butler, who continues to play at an all-star level in Miami. Chicago made things tough on him, but to his credit, he knocked down those shots to finish with 24 points. You also had Bam Adebayo add 23 points, as those two played off each other quite well.
One of the reasons why the Heat have struggled at times this season is their bench has yet to play at the level they typically do. On this night, Miami started to see their bench step up in a big way as Max Strus was hot from distance and finished with 20 points, with 15 coming off of triples.
We talked about how not having a healthy Karl Anthony-Towns, and Anthony Edwards hurt the Timberwolves yesterday, but tonight it was Tyler Herro and his struggles that hurt the Heat. Chicago did a great job guarding him all game and had to work hard for his 15 points. Regardless, it was the Bulls' night yet again as they continue to make some late-season noise to move back into the playoff picture.
Windy City takes down the Blue Coats
After falling to the Memphis Hustle by four points earlier in the week, the Windy City Bulls (16-13) welcomed home another formidable opponent as the Delaware Blue Coats (20-10) came to town. In the middle of a season-long homestand to end the season, the Bulls are putting themselves in a great position to make the playoffs as long as they take care of their business at NOW Arena.
They further solidified their playoff chances by winning a massive game against the Blue Coats 119-112. Not only did the Bulls have four players in double figures, but four players scored at least 20 points as they used balanced scoring to set the tone. After his brief absence, Carlik Jones returned to the lineup, leading the way for Windy City with 21 points and dropping 10 assists.
Jones was joined by not one, but two players who also dropped 21 points as Ethan Thompson added 21 points in starting lineup, with Daniel Otturo adding 21 off the bench with nine boards. Rounding out the double-digit scorers was Henry Drell and his 20 points, with Aaron Wheeler adding 18. Delaware had a trio of 20-point scorers, including the 2023 slam Dunk Champion Mac McClung, who finished with 20 points in the loss. Windy City returns to the floor tomorrow against the Maine Red Claws and will have two more home games after that to close out the season.