Heat torch Bulls to enter NBA playoffs

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Heat torch Bulls to enter NBA playoffs
MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 19: Tyler Herro #14 of the Miami Heat dribbles the ball against Alex Caruso #6 of the Chicago Bulls in the first quarter during the Play-In Tournament at Kaseya Center on April 19, 2024 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
Rich Storry / Getty Images / AFP

MANILA, Philippines -- The Miami Heat are going back to the NBA playoffs after blowing away the Chicago Bulls, 112-91, Saturday morning (Manila time) at the Kaseya Center in Miami.

The Heat will meet the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.

Without star Jimmy Butler, who sustained a right MCL sprain, Miami banked on Tyler Herro, who finished with a near triple-double of 24 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. He also recorded a game-high +- of +32.

It was a one-sided affair that turned from bad to worse for Chicago.

The Heat started waxing hot right from the get-go, turning an 11-all deadlock into a 19 point lead, 32-13, at the 1:58 mark of the first quarter with a Haywood Highsmith alley-oop finish.

The Bulls were able to inch closer, cutting the lead to seven, 49-42, in the third quarter.

However, this was the closest Chicago got to, as Miami was just too good.

Last year’s finalists unleashed a 33-18 run to end the quarter to retake an 82-60 lead going into the fourth quarter.

While the Bulls were able to inch closer in the second and third quarters, Miami regained their touch and just torched the Bulls from inside and out.

The lead grew to as much as 29 points, 99-70, with a pair of free throws by Jaime Jaquez Jr.

Jaquez added 21 points, six rebounds and six assists, while ol’ reliable Kevin Love had 16 markers and seven boards off the bench.

DeMar DeRozan had 22 points, four assists and three rebounds for Chicago.  Nikola Vucevic added 16 and 14.

This is the fifth straight playoffs for Miami, who was ousted in last season’s finals by the Denver Nuggets in five games.

For Chicago, this is their second straight season wherein they missed the postseason.

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