Can the Chicago Bulls snag the 10th seed after win over Miami?

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls beat the injury-battered Miami Heat Monday night in the second of their two-game series with the Heat, 110-102 on the road.

Is there evidence that the Chicago Bulls could pull off a berth for the play-in series in the East?

After the Bulls’ most recent win against the Heat on Monday, it certainly seems like they could put the pieces of the puzzle together. If there is one main factor to the Bulls’ win over the Heat and the key to their future success, it’s energy.

The Bulls brought plenty of energy on both sides of the floor. The biggest proprietor of that energy? Tomas Satoransky. Sato was diving after balls, driving the lane aggressively, and even had a block at the rim on an attempted dunk by Gabe Vincent.

This boost of energy translated to players on the floor — Coby White, Daniel Theis, Nikola Vucevic, Denzel Valentine, and others in the company.

Let’s talk about the other outstanding factors that led the Bulls to success on the night, and what could allow them to boot the Washington Wizards out of the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference.

Equal opportunity offense. A Phil Jackson-esque type of offensive night for the Bulls, they had six of their 10 players in double-digit figures and one just a bucket away from joining them (Patrick Williams with eight points). The team recorded a whopping 33 assists to trump the Heat’s 18. The Bulls had four players with five or more assists, just the second game this season they’ve done that. Kudos to their offense for tearing apart the Heat’s 2-3 notoriously good zone.

Daniel Theis and Nikola Vucevic. The twin towers of the starting lineup had themselves quite a game together. They combined for 47 points off of 19/28 shooting and 23 rebounds. Phew. That’s paint presence at its finest. The 1-2 punch on offense with these two has been fantastic and it seemed like they were always in the right spots for rebounds.

Finding their matchups. In the first half of this game, this was something the Bulls absolutely struggled to figure out. On many trips back on defense, Theis would be matched with Goran Dragic or White with Jimmy Butler. In the second half, they got better on defense in transition and found their guys. This is evident by the Heat’s 15 fast-break points in the first half and their five-point second half on fast breaks.

Is there anything the Chicago Bulls can improve on going forward? Of course.

Help Defense. The Miami Heat were short of men on the night, playing without Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, and Andre Igoudala. My point for saying this is that the Bulls need to be comfortable with leaving their men to help. Jimmy Butler scored 33 points in this game on 11/21 shooting (7/8 in the first half). Bulls fans should expect there to be some stunting/double team action from the wings to help this issue. Butler is known to sit in the short corner and isolate. We should hope to see this action against the Knicks, who are a big team.

Turnovers. I know this bullet point is like a broken record but it’s a problem. The Bulls recorded 18 turnovers in this one, in which the Heat capitalized for 20 points. Imagine if they cut half of those turnovers, the Bulls are looking at a much easier win.

Play as a team/energy. Reverting to the point about the future (oxymoron, yes), the Bulls need to bring the energy they did against the Heat to every game. The intensity was clearly higher in this game and it was evident through Sato and White looking mean on the floor and playing aggressively. If they can bring this type of intensity and teamwork to the rest of the regular season, they should be looking at a chance at making the playoffs.

Did the Bulls just play defense against the Celtics?. dark. Next

The Bulls will visit the New York Knicks on Wednesday and the Wizards will take on the Lakers at home on the same night. Bulls fans could be seeing a reentrance into the play-in faster than they thought.