MIAMI (AP) – For the first time this season, the Miami Heat have a bit of a cushion at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Gabe Vincent and Tyler Herro each scored 20 points, and the Heat outscored the Chicago Bulls 112-99 on Monday night for their ninth victory in their last 10 games. The Heat moved a season high two games clear of the second-place Bulls in the East.
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“Anything people want to say about us is cool,” Herro said.
Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each had 15 points for Miami. Max Strus got his 13 points in the fourth quarter for the Heat.
Chicago goaltender DeMar DeRozan’s 10-game streak with at least 30 points has ended; he finished with 18.
“I was just playing,” DeRozan said of the streak. “I’m just going to play, compete, do whatever I can. I was just going to play there. … I’m glad it’s over so I can stop hearing about it.
Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 22 points, while Ayo Dosunmu had 18 and Nikola Vucevic added 14 for Chicago.
The Heat are now 3-0 against Chicago, ensuring Miami would hold a head-to-head tiebreaker against the Bulls if one were needed to determine the seeding. The Heat led most of the way, building up to a 24-point cushion.
Chicago has the sixth-best record in the NBA, but is now 1-8 against the five teams with better ratings – Phoenix, Golden State, Memphis, Utah and Miami. The win was against the Jazz in October.
“I think the most important thing for me is that we have to be battle tested in some of these games and we just don’t have a lot of guys who have had those kinds of experiences,” the coach said. Bulls Billy Donovan. “I think it’s really good for us.”
Vincent, leaving for Miami in place of Kyle Lowry – absent for personal reasons – was 7 of 13 from the field, 4 of 8 from 3-point range.
“When the opportunity arises, you want to take advantage of it,” Vincent said. “We miss Kyle and can’t wait to get him back.
The Bulls missed 14 of their first 15 3s before Dosunmu made one from the right corner early in the third quarter, taking Chicago to 65-51. But the Bulls never made a serious run in the second half and Miami was unthreatened in the fourth.
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Miami beat Chicago 36-21 in the third, extending its lead to 24 points in the final 12 minutes. It matched the Bulls’ third-largest three-quarter deficit this season, and it was the Heat’s fifth-largest advantage to that point in a game this season.
Bulls: Chicago will enjoy a few days in Miami, with the team not due to leave for Atlanta until Wednesday afternoon. … DeRozan’s 30-game streak ended one game short of Michael Jordan’s franchise record of 11 straight games. There have been 29 instances where a Bulls player has scored 30 points in at least five consecutive regular season games; DeRozan is now responsible for one of those streaks, Jordan for the other 28.
Heat: Miami is 41-21. The last five Heat teams to start 41-21 or better have all gone to the NBA Finals. … It’s unclear how long Lowry will be away from the team. … Actor Mark Wahlberg was among the crowd, as was former Miami player Michael Beasley. … The Heat have a two-game trip to Milwaukee and Brooklyn later this week, then return home for 11 of their next 12 games. … For the second game in a row, a Ukrainian flag adorned the arena’s outdoor video display, and some fans unfurled it inside the building as well.
Heat G Victor Oladipo has begun a second stint with G League team Miami in Sioux Falls, South Dakota as he speeds through the final stages of what spanned nearly a year after surgery on my leg. Oladipo trained on Monday and will train again on Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s possible he’ll make his season debut for the Heat by mid-March.
Bulls G Alex Caruso hasn’t played since Jan. 21 with a broken wrist. He’s doing some work on the court, but the strength in his right wrist is nowhere near where he and the Bulls need it before they can think about playing again. He is expected in March, but no specific date has been set.
Bulls: Visit Atlanta on Thursday.
Heat: Visit Milwaukee on Wednesday.
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(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)