MIAMI — – Nikola Vucevic scored 24 points, Daniel Theis added 23 and the Chicago Bulls moved closer to the last play-in spot in the Eastern Conference by beating the Miami Heat 110-102 on Monday night.
Coby White added 17 points for the Bulls, who finished the game on a 36-20 run and outrebounded Miami 51-34. Theis had 12 rebounds and Vucevic 11 for Chicago.
Jimmy Butler scored 33 points and Bam Adebayo added 23 for Miami, which missed a chance to move into the No. 6 spot in the East and give coach Erik Spoelstra his 600th career regular-season win. Trevor Ariza added 18 points for the Heat.
The Heat remained No. 7, a half-game behind Boston for the final guaranteed playoff spot in the East. Chicago moved within one game of No. 10 Washington, which lost to San Antonio yet remains in the final play-in round position.
Theis had 10 points and seven rebounds in the fourth quarter for Chicago, which beat Miami for the first time in three tries this season. The Bulls trailed by eight late in the third, and then – just as they did Saturday in what became a close Chicago loss – controlled the final quarter.
Miami was 7 for 35 from 3-point range. The Heat were without most of their best 3-point shooters because of injury or, in the case of Duncan Robinson, illness. Robinson was 1 for 7 when he left in the second half because he was not feeling well.
Chicago led for only 2:25 of the first half, yet Miami simply couldn’t get away.
The Heat took a 53-52 lead into halftime, with Vucevic – fueled by a 4-for-4 start from 3-point range – scoring 17 by the break while Butler had 16 on 7-for-8 shooting.
Such was the trend in the second half as well; Miami just couldn’t shake the Bulls. It was tied at 97 with 5:01 left and Chicago outscored Miami 13-5 the rest of the way.
Bulls: Lauri Markkanen had 12 for Chicago, while Garrett Temple and Thaddeus Young each scored 10. … Former Bulls center, three-time NBA champion and longtime radio color commentator Bill Wennington turned 58 on Monday.
Heat: Tyler Herro (foot), Kendrick Nunn (neck) and Victor Oladipo (knee) missed the game. It was the 10th consecutive game missed for Oladipo. … Robinson’s team-record 25-game streak of games with multiple 3’s was snapped.
BUTLER VS. BULLS
Butler has faced the Bulls seven times and has scored at least 20 points against his former club in each of those games. His career average – 27.3 points – against Chicago is, by far, his most against any opponent; his 22.0-point average against the Los Angeles Lakers is second.
VUCEVIC VS. HEAT
This was the fifth time Vucevic faced Miami this season, including three games before he was traded by Orlando. He had 127 points and 63 rebounds against the Heat in 2020-21; only Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing have ever had that many points and rebounds in a season against Miami.
Bulls: Visit New York on Wednesday.
Heat: Host San Antonio on Wednesday.
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