Behind Goran Dragic’s 25-point performance, the Miami Heat were able to extend their win streak to seven games in a row yesterday and will look to continue that streak today against the Chicago Bulls. In yesterday’s game, where the Heat edged the Milwaukee Bucks 97-79, Miami provided a balanced offensive attack that resulted in four starters posting double-digit scoring efforts. The Heat defense also proved vital to the win as they held Milwaukee to a lowly 31.6 percent field-goal percentage.
Miami will look to ride this hot streak into Chicago, where they face a Bulls team with a finally healthy squad that has won three of their last five games. With a healthy Zach LaVine and Nikola Mirotic in the lineup, Chicago has an overachieving team that, when hitting on all cylinders, is a deadly scoring lineup. Along with LaVine and Mirotic is rookie Lauri Markkanen, who is coming off a 19-point outing in a win against the Detroit Piston. While the Heat will have their hands full, they are potentially the hottest team in basketball, and according to a panel at ESPN.com, have now moved into the top 10 in the NBA power rankings.
Up until Miami’s win streak, it was uncertain the direction the Heat were headed in as the NBA trade deadline approached. The Heat were barely above.500 and had multiple trade rumors on their roster, including Dragic, the injured Dion Waiters, and big-man Hassan Whiteside. Miami’s front office publicly denounced these rumors, but there was still the thought that the Heat could become sellers at the deadline. However, it looks like the team is headed in the right direction, and with a solid core group of players — including James Johnson, Josh Richardson, Justice Winslow, Kelly Olynk, and others — the Heat are in a good situation going forward. They can either begin to trade these players while their value is high and begin to build around Whiteside and Dragic or attempt to go after a big-name player to bolster their lineup and make them more of a contender.
Either way, the Heat will have a tough matchup today against an upstart Bulls team. Chicago started off horribly and once held the worst record in the NBA, but since Mirotic’s return from injury, they have been substantially better. Not only that, but Kris Dunn’s elevated play and LaVine’s return have the Bulls looking like a dangerous team, and just might be the team to put an end to Miami’s win streak. The Bulls will host the Heat today at 3:30 p.m.