Skip to content

Bulls beat Heat in overtime, but neither team looks ready for the playoffs

Apr 13, 2012, 12:03 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Chicago Bulls Getty Images

The Bulls and the Heat are far and away the top two teams in the Eastern Conference standings, so it’s only natural that their nationally televised tilt on Thursday night would be billed as a potential preview of the conference finals. But if either of them play the way they did in this one for an extended period during the playoffs, they’ll be lucky to make it that far.

Chicago outlasted Miami in overtime 96-86, but with Derrick Rose struggling on the night to finish with just two points and eight assists in 25 minutes on 1-of-13 shooting, and Miami finishing with just two points on free throws while failing to score from the field in the extra session, neither team impressed or looked even a little bit like one that could contend for the championship.

Rose played for the Bulls, but was largely ineffective. Unless he can stay on the floor for the remainder of the regular season to build some chemistry with his teammates, Chicago, despite having the league’s best regular season record, may be faced with challenges that it isn’t prepared to deal with as early as the second round of the playoffs.

Miami, meanwhile, has its own issues.

LeBron James finished with 30 points on 11-of-24 shooting, but missed a free throw with 11.4 seconds left that could have made it a two-possession game. That left the door open for C.J. Watson to tie it with a three near the end of regulation, but those are just small details in the big picture of problems that Miami faces as the playoffs rapidly approach.

The Heat continue to tinker with lineups and rotations at this late point in the regular season, seemingly unsure of who fits where, especially where the team’s bigs are concerned. Udonis Haslem got the start in this one, but played just 11 minutes while the bulk of the time at his position was given to Ronny Turiaf off the bench. Joel Anthony saw a few minutes of action too, after receiving a DNP-CD in Tuesday’s loss to the Celtics.

Shane Battier played 31 minutes off the bench for the Heat, and while few would argue with his basketball IQ, it’s fairly clear that he’s no longer an effective on-court player at this point, especially in extended minutes for a team trying to get to the Finals. Battier’s defense hasn’t lived up to its inflated reputation in years, and on this night, he was a game-worst -34 in the plus-minus statistic that, admittedly, is only useful when one wants it to be.

The outcome of this game wasn’t important for its impact on the regular season standings, but it did say something about where these two teams are as we head towards the playoffs.

The Bulls are firmly in control of the one-seed in the East heading into the postseason, with this win helping them solidify a four-game lead over the Heat in the standings. Miami doesn’t figure to fall out of the two-spot, sitting comfortably in second place, four and a half games ahead of the Pacers.

Neither of the beasts of the Eastern Conference have anything to play for in the season’s final two weeks in terms of playoff positioning. But they both have plenty of work to do to prepare for that postseason run.

Boston and New York are the teams playing the most cohesive brand of basketball right now; both are hot, and both are to be feared. Despite the regular season success sustained by both Miami and Chicago, the top teams in the conference (at least on paper) have a lot to figure out before the playoffs begin if they’re going to position themselves to make that expected run deep into the postseason.

Latest Posts
  1. Mason Plumlee wants you to know Duke, Nike had nothing to do with him making Team USA

    Sep 1, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    Finland v USA Getty Images

    “If you were at our practices and our training camp, anybody that was there, they would see why I made the team.” —Mason Plumlee

  2. Elephant dunks a basketball?

    Sep 1, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Elephant dunks a basketball.

  3. Report: Rajon Rondo wants to start season with Celtics, see how things unfold

    Sep 1, 2014, 1:31 PM EDT

    Detroit Pistons v Boston Celtics Getty Images

    This makes more sense, but he could get moved near the deadline.

  4. Report: Clippers close to deal with Chris Douglas-Roberts

    Sep 1, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

    Chris Douglas-Roberts, Gary Neal Chris Douglas-Roberts, Gary Neal

    This would be a solid pickup for the bench, especially at the league minimum.

  5. Heat demote two assistants to hire Juwan Howard

    Sep 1, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Ron Rothstein and Bob McAdoo lose bench spots, could stay with Miami

  6. Kevin Durant confirms he is staying with Nike

    Sep 1, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    12-390_Nike_KDV_Upper_Detail-02_original

    This is a win for Jay-Z’s Roc Nation.

  7. James Harden with more bad defense in USA’s win over Turkey (VIDEO)

    Sep 1, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Team USA Practice Session Getty Images

    Harden’s reputation on the defensive end of the floor continues to grow.

  8. Rajon Rondo’s agent denies they asked Celtics for a trade

    Sep 1, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Boston Celtics Getty Images

    Whether he asked out or not doesn’t really change his situation much.

  9. Report: Hedo Turkoglu nearing free agent deal to return to Clippers

    Aug 31, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    Turkoglu didn’t do much in L.A. last year, but Chris Paul recently touted the importance of consistency in the Clippers’ chances for success next season.

  10. James Harden’s four-point play vs. Turkey (VIDEO)

    Aug 31, 2014, 7:59 PM EDT

    James Harden James Harden

    James Harden makes the PUJIT work for him.

  11. Team USA trails at the half, then pulls away for 98-77 win over Turkey at FIBA World Cup

    Aug 31, 2014, 6:29 PM EDT

    Team USA Showcase Getty Images

    The energy of Kenneth Faried helped Team USA pull away in the second half.

  12. Report: Kings finalizing deal to trade Jason Terry to Rockets

    Aug 31, 2014, 5:31 PM EDT

    Newly acquired Brooklyn Net's NBA player Jason Terry smiles as he is introduced to the media during a news conference in Brooklyn Reuters

    Terry was never going to be a fit in Sacramento, but could be a nice veteran addition for a Rockets team that plans on contending next season.

  13. Report: Grizzlies waive Jamaal Franklin

    Aug 31, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    Jamaal Franklin Jamaal Franklin

    Franklin only played one NBA season, but this will open up a roster spot in Memphis.

  14. Timberwolves set record for ticket sales after trading Kevin Love to Cavaliers

    Aug 31, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Andrew Wiggins Andrew Wiggins

    In some ways, this new beginning in Minnesota is more interesting than if the team had simply proceeded with the status quo.

  15. Thad Young on Sixers rebuild: ‘They were getting rid of everybody and getting worse’

    Aug 31, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Thaddeus Young AP

    There’s a big difference between the rebuilding that’s taking place in Minnesota and what’s going on with the Sixers.

  16. Report: Nike nearing deal to keep Kevin Durant for next 10 years

    Aug 31, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    BASKET-TPE-US-NBA Getty Images

    Under Armour made a huge offer, but Nike has exercised its right to match.

  17. Report: Rajon Rondo has told Celtics ‘he wants out’

    Aug 31, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Rajon Rondo, Kyrie Irving,Tristan Thompson Rajon Rondo, Kyrie Irving,Tristan Thompson

    Rondo is in the same situation Kevin Love was in with Timberwolves, before he was traded to Cavaliers.

  18. Report: Hawks in talks to bring back Elton Brand to round out roster

    Aug 31, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    He played solidly, particularly on defense, for the Hawks last season.

Featured video

Will LeBron get booed Christmas Day in Miami?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (3302)
  2. K. Love (2598)
  3. T. Mozgov (2470)
  4. K. Bryant (2464)
  5. C. Delfino (2344)
  1. L. James (2261)
  2. R. Allen (2203)
  3. J. Embiid (2095)
  4. A. Davis (2057)
  5. D. Waiters (1998)