CHICAGO (SportsDirect Inc.) — After a win against one the NBA’s best teams, the Chicago Bulls will take aim at one of the worst when it hosts the Miami Heat on Saturday.
The Bulls snapped a three-game slide with Thursday’s 95-91 win over the San Antonio Spurs, who suffered their first road loss in 14 games.
The victory kept Chicago in line with an odd trend that has seen the squad defeat top-tier teams while losing to the league’s bottom-feeders, a pattern it hopes to end Saturday.
“Well, we talked about that,” coach Fred Hoiberg said when asked by reporters about the team playing to the level of its opponent. “We talked about it after the game. We also talked about it after the (win at Cleveland on Dec. 2) so that’s, I guess, the scary thing.”
The Bulls managed to outlast the Heat 98-95 in Miami earlier this season in a game that featured 19 lead changes and 14 ties.
That loss was part of a six-game slide for the Heat, who are now struggling through a four-game losing streak after a 30-point loss in Cleveland on Friday.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBA TV, FSN Sun (Miami), WGN (Chicago)
ABOUT THE HEAT (7-16): Injuries continue to be a major issue for Miami, but it hopes to have guard Josh Richardson back from an ankle injury that has robbed him of six games. Forwards Justise Winslow (wrist), James Johnson (shoulder) and Luke Babbitt (hip) all stayed home for the team’s current three-game road trip and only eight players saw action versus Cleveland, with star center Hassan Whiteside getting benched early in the second half amid a lackluster effort. The three reserves combined for 39 points, as Derrick Williams recorded a team-high 17 points.
ABOUT THE BULLS (12-10): Jimmy Butler’s string of 15 straight games with at least 20 points came to a halt in the win over the Spurs, but he was encouraged with the manner in which his teammates picked up the slack. “I know we got some hellafied players,” Butler told reporters after scoring a season-low 13 points. “Some great teammates. Everybody’s like, ‘Yo, take your shot. Do what you’ve been doing all year.’ It won’t change. They’re going to fall — I think we all know that. But that’s what you got teammates for, to step up and make shots, take the big ones, knock them down.” Dwyane Wade scored 20 points and Rajon Rondo finished an assist shy of a triple-double in his second game since sitting one out due to a suspension.
1. Whiteside has not attempted a single foul shot in 64 minutes across the last two games.
2. Wade is averaging 24.3 points while attempting 36 free throws over the last three games.
3. Chicago entered Friday ranked third in the NBA in foul shooting (80.5 percent), while Miami was last (67.1).
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