Bulls News: Season Over: Bull lose to Heat in play-in game
Sam Navarro - USA Today Sports

Bulls News: Season Over: Bull lose to Heat in play-in game

by - Senior Writer -

MIAMI - For the second time in as many seasons, it was the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat battling it out for the final playoff spot, and once again, it was the Miami Heat ending the Bulls season. However, unlike last season, where the Bulls dominated the Heat until about four minutes left in the game, this one was decided almost as quickly as things began as the Heat used two separate runs of 19-0 and 13-0 to create some distance in their 112-91 win.

Keep in mind that the Bulls were about as healthy as they have been in quite some time, while the Heat were without their best players, Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier, which goes to show how bad things could've been if they were on the floor. 48 hours after putting on a clinic against the Atlanta Hawks, the Bulls went back to their old ways, which is something many fans are getting frustrated about.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and getting the same results. This front office has done that with this team as they continue to run it back only to have the results they've had the past two seasons. At some point, you need to blow things up and start over, which may come from the top down. If the Bulls want to go that route, now would be the perfect time for them, as this team can't get out of their own way.

Chicago's shooting performance was another rough one. At 38% from the field and 30% from deep, Chicago dug itself into a hole that it simply couldn't get out of. The Heat doubled them up 34-17 in the first quarter. Chicago then responded with a strong second quarter, where its defense held the Heat to just 13 points, pulling it within 10 at the break.

Chicago then got things within single digits early in the third quarter before the Heat went on a 13-0 run to break the game open, and the rest is history. Whenever you shoot as poorly as the Bulls did, there aren't many positives to take away, with Demar DeRozan being the lone one. The soon-to-be free agent was the only one who seemed ready to play, as he shot 50% from the field and dropped a team-high 22 points for what could be his final game in a Bulls uniform.

DeRozan has stated that he loves this city and wants to remain a Bull, but has also said they need to make more of an effort to make a deep playoff run. Apart from DeRozan's game, Chicago had little go-to player, even if five players landed in double figures. Nikola Vucevic ended his season with 16 points and 14 rebounds, while Ayo Dosunmu (10 points) and Coby White (13 points) rounded out what was otherwise a quiet night for the Bulls starting five. Javonte Green also closed out his impressive final month with the team by adding 12 points off the bench, as he has been the spark they needed late in the season.

Even without Rozier and Butler on the floor, Miami was locked in from the start as they connected on nearly 45% of their outside shots while shooting close to 50% overall. That is the best way to beat this team, and the Heat did a phenomenal job exploiting that. Tyler Herro came up huge with a game-high 24 points and came within one assist of a triple-double as he added 10 rebounds and nine assists.

Jamie Jaquez Jr. also had a massive game with 21 points, which was a common theme for him this season when he faced the Bulls. Arguably, the most important player in the victory was Kevin Love, whose resurgent season off the bench could land him an extension with this team.

Although on the back nine of his career, Love has proven this season that he can be a valuable asset to any team if used right. With 16 points to lead the bench, he can still put up big numbers if called upon. Having guys like that who can come in off the bench and stretch the floor is crucial and is something this Bulls team hasn't had in years.

Chicago will again enter a challenging offseason with more question marks than answers as they need to figure out the direction they want to go to compete again. Running it back isn't the answer, as the front office is going to have to answer a lot of questions.

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