Heat Beat Bulls to Secure The Eighth Seed For Second Straight Year

Chicago Bulls guard Javonte Green (24) goes up for a shot against Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) and forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. during the second half of an NBA basketball play-in tournament game, Friday, April 19, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee).

MIAMI (AP) — Tyler Herro scored 24 points and was an assist shy of a triple-double, rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 21 points and the Miami Heat grabbed the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, running away from the Chicago Bulls 112-91 in a play-in tournament elimination game Friday night.

Kevin Love scored 16 and Bam Adebayo added 13 for Miami, which got this as a reward: a rematch of the last two East finals against the Boston Celtics. It’s Round 1 this time, the Heat are set to be huge underdogs against the runaway favourite to win the NBA title.

The Heat won’t have Jimmy Butler against Boston because of his injured right knee and played again without point guard Terry Rozier, still out with a neck injury.

No matter. They took control over the Bulls with a 19-0 run in the first quarter, and a 14-0 run midway through the second half ended all doubt. Herro finished with 10 rebounds and nine assists, and the Heat eliminated the Bulls in the last East play-in game for the second straight year.

DeMar DeRozan scored 22 points for the Bulls, who got 16 points, 14 rebounds and five assists from Nikola Vucevic. Coby White scored 13 for Chicago, which was trying to become the fifth team in the last 35 years to make the playoffs after not spending a single day all season over the .500 mark.

The 19-0 run — which matched Miami’s longest run of consecutive points all season, done two other times — put the Heat on top, turning an 11-6 deficit into an early 25-11 lead. Jaquez and Nikola Jovic combined for 11 points in the burst, which fueled Miami taking a 17-point lead after one quarter and pushing it to 20 in the second quarter.


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Brandon Ingram scored 24 points, Jonas Valanciunas added 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans booked a spot in the NBA playoffs with a victory over the Sacramento Kings in a play-in tournament elimination game.

The Pelicans won without leading-scorer Zion Williamson, who strained his left hamstring right as he reached the 40-point mark in a play-in loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

Undaunted, New Orleans used a balanced approach to improve to 8-5 this season without Williamson in the lineup. Six players scored 10 or more points, including reserves Larry Nance Jr. (13), Naji Marshall (11) and Jose Alvarado (10).

Trey Murphy III, starting because of Williamson’s absence, added 16 points for New Orleans.

De’Aaron Fox scored 35 points for Sacramento, and Domantas Sabonis had 23 points and 14 rebounds.

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