This is not a good time for the Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls, who are set to visit the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, have lost four straight games. Worse, they are coming off a 150-126 loss at the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night.
It was the most points allowed by the Bulls in a regulation game in 40 years. In the entire history of the franchise, only three performances were worse.
Bulls star DeMar DeRozan, who scored 29 points, took the loss personally.
“It’s embarrassing to give up that many points,” DeRozan said. “Nothing against Minnesota, but it’s not like we were playing the 2016 Golden State Warriors.”
Perhaps it’s fortunate that Chicago will next face a Heat squad that is struggling to score. Miami enters Monday ranked next-to-last in the NBA in points per game (108.1). The Heat also rank 26th in field-goal percentage (45.1), 23rd in 3-point marksmanship (34.3) and 21st in assists per game (23.8).
Still, the Heat are riding a season-best four-game winning streak, largely because they have held opponents to an average of 99.8 points during that span.
Guard Tyler Herro has led Miami during this streak, averaging 26.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
Of Miami’s “big four” — a group that also includes point guard Kyle Lowry, forward Jimmy Butler and center Bam Adebayo — only Herro has been available for all four games.
Herro scored a career-high 41 points last Thursday against Houston. He also had 35 points versus Oklahoma City, making a total of 19 3-pointers in those two games.
“He’s a brilliant shooter,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He needs to continue to be assertive.”
On the season, Butler (21.9 points per game), Herro (21.2) and Adebayo (20.7) are Miami’s top three scorers. Adebayo also leads in rebounds per contest (9.8).
Lowry, who is tied with Butler for team lead in assists with 5.9 per game, is questionable for Tuesday due to a knee injury. Miami also lists starter Caleb Martin (ankle) and key reserve Gabe Vincent (knee) as day-to-day.
Chicago’s main injury issue is at point guard, where Lonzo Ball (knee) has yet to play this season.
The Bulls, who lost at Miami 116-108 in their season opener and have yet to play the rematch, are led by DeRozan, who tops the team in scoring (25.9) and assists (4.7).
DeRozan, who thrives in the mid-range game, is converting on 52.1 percent of his 2-point tries.
Wing Zach LaVine and center Nikola Vucevic are Chicago’s other stars. LaVine, a sensational leaper, is second on the team in scoring (21.8) and assists (4.1). He is making 50.2 percent on 2-pointers and 36.5 percent on 3-pointers.
Vucevic, who tops the Bulls in rebounding (10.4) and ranks third in scoring (16.3), has had some big games against the Heat over the years, especially in the nine seasons he played for the Orlando Magic. He is making a career-best 57.9 percent on 2-pointers, due to his ability to post up, and 36.7 percent on 3-point tries.
Guard Goran Dragic, who played seven seasons for the Heat (2014-15 through 2020-21), leads Chicago’s reserves and has become a team leader.
“We have to sacrifice for each other to make a better play,” Dragic, 36, said about Chicago’s losing skid. “Set a screen, make a stop — small details.”
–Field Level Media