Enhanced Box Score: Miami 102, Bulls 91 – April 14, 2023

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Enhanced Box Score: Miami 102, Bulls 91 – April 14, 2023

Chicago Bulls

Max Strus wanted revenge.

The former DePaul standout who signed with the Chicago Bulls on a two-way contract before tearing his ACL must have sipped some of Steph Curry’s secret stuff. The G-Leaguer turned rotation player knocked down six 3-pointers in the first half for 23 of the team’s 49 first-half points. He was 6-9 from the field (all long-range attempts), while the rest of his fellow starters went just 7-20 from the field.

Indeed, the fact that Chicago walked into the locker room down just 5 points at halftime felt like a borderline miracle. As long as their offense could go on a little run, it felt like they had a real chance to take control of the game.

Jimmy Butler opened up the 3rd quarter with five-straight points to extend Miami’s lead back to double-digits. The Bulls broke out a highlight-filled 12-2 run to tie the game back up, but Butler’s warning was already heard loud and clear. Miami wouldn’t be denied … especially in crunch time.

As I shared in my numbers-to-know post yesterday, Miami entered the game with the second-highest clutch net rating in the NBA and the single-most clutch wins this season. This is a group that is used to performing under pressure and on a big stage. And that’s exactly what they did tonight. The Heat ended the game on a 15-2 run and held the Bulls scoreless for the final 1:14 of the game. Butler – who had the third-most clutch points this season – scored 13 of his 31 points in the final frame.

Another number I pointed out was Butler’s combined 25 FTAs over his two games played against Chicago this season. I worried about a possible discrepancy at the charity stripe – particularly with no Diar DeRozan in town – and there is no question that played a big role in the Bulls’ loss. Miami was a +11 at the free-throw line.

At the end of the day, though, what plagued the Bulls was the same thing that plagued their entire season. They shot themselves in the foot down the stretch with questionable shot selection and some brutal fouls. The game was right there for the taking as they held the lead with 2:54 to go, and they just couldn’t finish it out. Another missed opportunity in a year full of them.

I also want to point out that it’s hard to win a basketball game when your second-leading scorer is Alex Caruso. I admire everything that guy brings to the floor and mean no disrespect, but he should never be in that position. Zach LaVine followed up the best game of his career with a really tough note, shooting 6-21 with 15 points. Meanwhile, all Vucevic could muster was 12 points on nine whole shots.

So where do the Bulls go from here? Well, I’ll have a post on that soon. All I’ll say for now is that while I’m never happy to see a season come to a close, we didn’t need this team to give us any more false hope.

Thanks for reading along all year. I really appreciate all of you. Sorry, the Bulls stunk.

Check out the full box score here.

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.