Bulls strengthen hold on final play-in spot with a 113-99 win over Heat


CHICAGO — DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points to lead a balanced Bulls offense and Chicago held off a late surge by Miami to beat the Heat, 113-99, on Saturday night.

DeRozan shot 9-of-12 from the floor to help the Bulls sweep the season series from the Heat. Coby White made four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points, Zach LaVine also had 18 and Patrick Beverley added 17 as the Bulls shot 56.3% (45-for-80) from the field overall, including 17 for 34 from 3-point range.

Chicago nearly blew all of a 27-point lead after Nikola Vucevic converted a 3-point play with slightly more than 10 minutes left in the third quarter. Miami, led by 24 points from Jimmy Butler and 23 from Bam Adebayo, cut its deficit to 93-90 with nine minutes left.

The Bulls showed few signs of fatigue during the first half, one night after outlasting Minnesota 139-131 in two overtimes. They didn't need to rely heavily on DeRozan, who scored 49 points in 52 minutes against the Timberwolves or LaVine (39 in 47).

Beverley scored 11 of his 14 first-half points during an 11-2 run that enabled the Bulls to expand their lead to 21 midway through the second quarter. But he drew his fifth foul with 7:14 left in the third quarter. The Heat were in the early stages of a 15-0 run during a six-minute stretch.

Beverley had to leave briefly midway through the first quarter after claiming he got kicked on a jump shot by Jimmy Butler. White substituted for Beverley and sank three shots and stole a pass in the final six minutes of the quarter.

Bulls guard Alex Caruso left with 6:55 left in the second quarter because of a left mid-foot sprain and didn't return.

With the win, the Bulls improved to 33-37. They sit in 10th in the East, which represents the final play-in spot, and are clear of the Pacers and Wizards by 1.5 games. Both Indiana and Washington lost Saturday.

Heat: G Kyle Lowry (left knee soreness) was held out as part of an injury management plan as the Heat played the first of two games on back-to-back nights. “This is the plan for this week,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We're formulating the plan for next week. We'll see where we go from here." Lowry played in three consecutive games after missing 15 straight because of soreness.

Bulls: G Javonte Green (right knee soreness) was ruled after after experiencing soreness following consecutive days of practicing involving contact drills. “It was good progress,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. “He put a few good days in. I think they (the doctors) want to see more consistency from him.”

Heat: visit Detroit Pistons on Sunday.
Bulls: visit Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press.

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