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Miami Heat Clinch Playoff Spot and Prepare for Boston Showdown After Dominating Bulls

In a decisive play-in game, the Miami Heat secured the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by defeating the Chicago Bulls 112-91. The victory was celebrated with enthusiastic chants of “We want Boston,” echoing through the arena as Miami fans anticipated a rematch of the previous two Eastern Conference finals.

Even without star player Jimmy Butler, who has been sidelined with a knee injury, the Heat showed their resilience and playoff readiness. Tyler Herro delivered a standout performance with 24 points and nearly achieved a triple-double, falling just one assist short. Rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. also made a significant impact, adding 21 points to help Miami overcome the Bulls and move forward in the postseason.

The game turned decisively in Miami’s favor with two major scoring runs — a 19-0 sprint in the first quarter and a 14-0 surge in the second half, which dashed any hopes of a Bulls comeback. Herro, alongside his teammates, controlled the game’s tempo, contributing 10 rebounds and nine assists, while the Heat’s defense stifled the Bulls, holding them to just 38% shooting.

Kevin Love and Bam Adebayo were also pivotal, scoring 16 and 13 points, respectively, setting the stage for what promises to be a challenging first-round series against a dominant Boston Celtics team. The Celtics, who finished the regular season with the NBA’s best record of 64 wins, will be a formidable opponent.

Despite the tough road ahead, Jaquez emphasized the importance of bringing “Miami Heat culture and toughness” to the upcoming games in Boston, aiming to “set the tone extremely early” and make the games “real physical.”

The Bulls, led by DeMar DeRozan with 22 points and Nikola Vucevic with a double-double, struggled to find their rhythm. Chicago’s coach, Billy Donovan, acknowledged the game’s challenging nature and conceded that his team could have performed better in crucial moments.

This win not only propels Miami back into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed, the same position from which they launched their NBA Finals run last year, but also sets up a highly anticipated matchup against the Celtics, who are eager to avenge last year’s conference finals loss to the Heat.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra expressed gratitude for the opportunity to compete in the playoffs, praising his team’s effort and the unifying challenge they overcame to earn their spot. As Miami prepares for the first round, the team’s focus is sharp, and the resolve is stronger than ever to continue their unexpected playoff journey.

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