Not exactly on fire on the road, Heat travel to Chicago

The Miami Heat conclude a four-game road trip on Saturday, taking on the Chicago Bulls in Chicago.

Miami comes in looking to salvage a .500 mark on the road swing after dropping a 113-101 decision Wednesday to Minnesota.

The Heat committed 21 turnovers in the loss, bumping up their season average to 15 per game. Defensively, Miami struggled to contain Timberwolves wing Anthony Edwards, who knocked down six 3-pointers en route to 33 points.

The loss dropped the Heat to 6-6 on the road this season. They are 6-1 in Miami.

«That has been our biggest battle this whole year, winning on the road,» Bam Adebayo said in his postgame press conference on Wednesday. «I don’t know what it is. When we’re home, we play lights out. It’s electric, we’re having fun. But when we’re on the road, it’s like we come out sluggish.»

Sluggish starts almost have the Heat facing a winless road swing. Miami was outscored through each of the first three quarters Tuesday in Detroit, but a 33-16 fourth quarter powered the Heat to a 100-92 win.

«Coach (Erik Spoelstra) did a helluva job of switching up the zone (defense) and we were really active,» Kyle Lowry said in his postgame press conference on Tuesday.

The Heat have integrated more zone defense in recent weeks. Spoelstra said on Tuesday that Miami will continue to emphasize man-to-man as its «base,» but the zone gives the team a boost.

Miami boasts the second-best scoring defense in the NBA thus far in 2021-22, but the 113 points it allowed at Minnesota matched the most the Heat have allowed in regulation.

Chicago, meanwhile, returns home from Orlando where on Friday, the Bulls reached their highest point total of the season since Nov. 1. They destroyed the Magic, 123-88, in the first leg of a back-to-back.

DeMar DeRozan led three Bulls scorers with at least 20 points, posting 23. Zach LaVine added 21 and Coby White came off the bench for a season-high 20.

For White, who joined the lineup for the first time this season on Nov. 15 after offseason shoulder surgery, it was just his second double-figure scoring performance of 2021-22.

«We’re just trying to win the game. Whatever I can do to help my team win, whether it’s score 20 or score zero,» White said in his postgame press conference.

The Bulls win on Friday snapped a two-game skid after losses to Indiana and Houston. In Wednesday’s 118-113 loss to the Rockets, Chicago was outscored 35-18 in the third quarter to cough up a halftime lead against the team with the NBA’s worst record.

The Bulls reversed course on Friday with a 35-23 third-quarter edge to blow the game open.

«I’ve got to keep putting it on them that they’ve got to solve that,» Bulls coach Billy Donovan said of playing more consistently in third quarters in his postgame press conference. «We can’t be a good team and keep on doing that (giving up leads after halftime). That’s focus and concentration.»

Having a complete lineup could help with Chicago’s consistency. In addition to White’s return earlier this month, Nikola Vucevic returned from a seven-game absence for the last two outings.

Miami is without Markieff Morris, who sustained a neck injury in an altercation with Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 8. Marcus Garrett did not play on Wednesday and is day-to-day heading into Saturday’s matchup with a wrist injury.

–Field Level Media