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Pre-Gamin’: Heat at Bulls (7:00 CT) — Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

Chicago Bulls

There are two teams I especially love to see the Bulls beat:

(1) The Knicks

(2) The Heat

Getting a victory over these teams before December would make my heart so warm.

Game Info

Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls – 7:00 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV) and 670 The Score (Radio)

Stream the game online here with your cable provider.

Projected Starters

Chicago Bulls

1. Lonzo Ball
2. Zach LaVine
3. Javonte Green
4. DeMar DeRozan
5. Nikola Vucevic

Injury report: Patrick Williams OUT (wrist)

Miami Heat

1. Kyle Lowry
2. Jimmy Butler
3. Duncan Robinson
4. PJ Tucker
5. Bam Adebayo

Injury report: Tyler Herro QUESTIONABLE (soreness), Marcus Garrett OUT (wrist), Markieff Morris OUT (neck), Victor Oladipo OUT (quad)

What to Watch For …

•   Chicago is second in the East, and Miami is third. Chicago has the league’s 5th-best net rating, and Miami has the 4th. Chicago scores the 3th-most points per game, and Miami scores the 12th-most. The Bulls average a 46.3 percent clip from the field, and the Heat average an identical 46.3 percent clip from the field. So … noticing a trend? These two teams constantly pop up next to each other in the league ranks, as both have gotten off to similarly strong starts thanks to a similarly balanced attack on both sides of the floor. Miami relies a little more heavily on physical defensive play (allow 2nd-fewest points in the paint) while Chicago prioritizes active hands, but we are looking at two teams who know how to turn defense into offense and score at an efficient clip.

•   Now, there are two key areas where the Heat and Bulls differ: Rebounding and bench scoring. Miami is the No. 1 rebounding team in the league, which is a stark contrast from the Bulls’ 26th-overall ranking. Bam Adebayo leads the team in this department with 10.2 boards per game, but PJ Tucker, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, and Tyler Herro all play an active role on the glass with 5.0 or more rebounds a night. Chicago will need to see a similar emphasis from guys like LaVine, DeRozan, and Ball to keep this battle close. As for the bench scoring, another 20-point night from Coby White would be massive. The Heat have the sixth man of the year front-runner right now in Herro, who is averaging 21.8 points per game off the bench as the team’s second-leading scorer.

•   Jimmy Butler has been as good as anyone in the league to start the season. The former Bull has been a two-way force, being one of only two players to average at least 23 points and 1.9 steals per game (Paul George is the other). With that said, Butler has struggled the past few games to find his offensive rhythm, scoring just 15 and 16 points over the team’s last two games, respectively. The Bulls will hope they can hold the 32-year-old to a similar performance tonight, and a good way to do that will be by keeping him off the free-throw line. Butler averages 8.8 freebie attempts per game, which only pales in comparison to Giannis Antetokounmpo.

•   Friendly Competition Alert: Best buddies and former-Raptor teammates DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are playing pivotal roles on new teams. It should be fun to see their different styles go head-to-head tonight.

•   More in here …



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is a writer for Bleacher Nation and a human being. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.