Chicago Bulls currently look severely outmatched by Miami Heat

Chicago Bulls (Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Bulls (Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports) /

If the NBA playoffs started today, the Miami Heat would finish as the number one overall seed, as they are currently two games ahead of the Chicago Bulls.

That 2-game lead looked like a much larger gap on Monday night, though, when the Heat dominated the Bulls pretty much start to finish.

Miami was without veteran and 6-time All Star point guard Kyle Lowry for this one, but it didn’t even matter. Gabe Vincent stepped in for Lowry and played starting-caliber ball for the Heat, finishing with 20 points including four three-pointers.

The Heat used a balanced attack to beat Chicago as they have for pretty much the entire season. The Bulls took this loss 112-99, but at one point were down by 24 in the first half.

If the Chicago Bulls want to compete with the Miami Heat down the line, they’ll need to take a different approach.

Being without Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso hurt the Bulls in this one. Chicago’s defense hasn’t been the same since those two went down to injury, and Monday night was especially noticeable.

Miami used screens all night long without much push-back from the Bulls, and Nikola Vucevic was especially susceptible to these plays. Whether it was Vucevic failing to step out and help, or getting beat by his man off a screen for an easy bucket at the rim, it was a long night for the big guy.

Even DeMar DeRozan had a tough night, which is out of the norm and very odd for Bulls fans to see. DeRozan finished shooting 7-for-16 and only 18 points, ending his infamous streak of 30 or more.

DeRozan wasn’t the only one who was off, though, as the Bulls were pretty bad on both sides of the floor. All five starters finished with a negative plus/minus, and most of them were just flat-out terrible numbers. DeRozan, for example, finished with a -19 while Javonte Green was a miserable -27, a team-worst.

The bench wasn’t much better for the Bulls, as the Heat outscored them 49-23 in bench points. It was a clear-cut drubbing which ended up much closer than the game felt.

Obviously, fans can point to Caruso and Ball, stating that this team will look much different when those two are back. But, this is still a playoff race. The Bulls are living in the here-and-now, and while they’re also still waiting on Patrick Williams to return, the Heat have also sustained plenty of depth issues this season.

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But, a team like Miami has been able to push through. Will the Bulls be able to end this 2-game drought, get back to form and learn to play with the best in the East before it’s too late?