This was the Miami Heat‘s first big test of the week. This week, they face the best in the Eastern Conference. On Monday, it was the Chicago Bulls, who came in a game behind the Heat in the conference standings. Miami had control throughout the majority of the game, playing stifling defense on the and making things tough for the Bulls’ stars. Chicago made it interesting in the second period when they cut Miami’s 19-point lead to seven. However, the Heat blew the game open in the third and sealed the victory. With the win, Miami moves to 41-21 on the season. Here are four takeaways from Monday’s victory.
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Vincent Remains a Pest for Bulls
If there is one team Gabe Vincent loves playing against, it is Chicago. In the first game he played against the Bulls, Vincent scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Heat to victory. He was more quiet in the second game, but still dished out eight assists. On Monday, however, he was back to torching them in scoring, with 14 points in the first half. He was doing it off of catch-and-shoot threes, strong drives, and from midrange. He has added the tough turnaround jumpers to his game whenever he’s inside the arc. Overall, he continued to show he’s ready to fill in whenever Kyle Lowry sits. Vincent finished the night with 20 points.
Adebayo Continues His Defensive Dominance
Bam Adebayo didn’t post high scoring numbers in this game, and that’s fine considering it was not needed. However, he continued to impress from the defensive end. Fans know how great Adebayo is defending the perimeter and locking down a team’s best scorer, but they should be watching the total package. Take a look at one play on the defensive end. Coby White and Nikola Vucevic were running a pick-and-roll that had Adebayo switched out on White on the perimeter. White then threw a lob to Vucevic. Before Vucevic could connect on the lob, Adebayo quickly recovered and sent the ball out of bounds. That play showed Adebayo’s incredible defense. If he was healthy throughout the season, we would be talking more about his defensive player of the year candidacy. Adebayo finished the night with 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two blocks.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 1, 2022
Simple Night for Jimmy Butler
For the second straight night, Jimmy Butler sat out the fourth quarter. Last time, it was because of soreness. This time, Miami’s lead was the reason why he sat out. The lead was so huge that Butler was not needed in the fourth period. This was basically a simple night for the star forward, as he didn’t have to do as much from a scoring standpoint. Offensively, Butler was able to focus more on being a facilitator with the other guys playing well. Defensively, he played strong weak-side defense and was able to pick up four steals. We talk about Adebayo’s great defensive play, but Butler has been a strong weak-side defender. He finished the night with 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.
A Favorable Matchup?
Miami is surely playoff-bound. They remain the first seed in the Eastern Conference standings with the postseason drawing near. Now the focus is on positioning for the playoffs and watching for key matchups. The Bulls certainly seem to be a favorable draw for the Heat, as they have beaten Chicago every time this season. Miami is able to stick to its switching defense and still slow down the Bulls. Even when there’s a smaller defender on a big, the Heat have been quick with the help defense and able to recover out to the Chicago shooters. The Bulls also lack lengthy wing defenders who can cause Miami problems on the offensive end.
Next Up: At the Milwaukee Bucks. Game tips off at 8pm EST.
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