Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra spoke the unspoken before Sunday's game at AmericanAirlines Arena. "We understand the ramifications of a win or a loss," he said. No, this 105-93 victory over the Chicago Bulls had no ramifications on the Heat's opening-round playoff series. That's already set: Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks, starting next Saturday or Sunday on the Heat's home court. But by closing out the season series against the Bulls at 2-2, the Heat pushed Chicago a full game behind the Atlanta Hawks and into the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference -- and therefore out of the Heat's potential second-round bracket. Based on the contentious nature of this season series, with Sunday's game a foul fest, the less of the Bulls seemingly the better for the Heat's path of least resistance in the postseason. The Bulls closed with 30 fouls Sunday, most against the Heat this season, compared to only 29 baskets for Chicago. Spoelstra saw a benefit of the punishment. "You play a team that's physical like this," he said, "it gets you ready for next week," Center Chris Bosh agreed. "It was good for us to get that feel, to play against a physical team," he said. "We're in a good place right now." Both the Bulls and Hawks have two games remaining in that fight for the No. 5 seed, with the Bulls holding the tiebreaker. The Bulls close with a road game Monday against the Orlando Magic and a home game Wednesday against the Washington Wizards. The Hawks finish with a home game Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors and a road game Wednesday against the New York Knicks. Should the Heat win in the opening round, they will host the winner of No. 4 vs. No. 5 in the second round, with the Brooklyn Nets most likely to close at No. 4.
Heat fight off Chicago 105-93, may avoid more Bulls
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Apr 14