The Heat Destroying The Bulls In The Play-In Game Without Jimmy Butler Makes You Think About The Teams’ Flight Schedules

Miami Heat
Miami Heat

Much was made last year of the Miami Heat’s collective decision to book a flight to Denver for the NBA Finals before they’d even knocked off the Boston Celtics in Game 7. While that felt more like a logistical standby sort of ordeal, there wasn’t as much reason to believe Miami was going to secure a rematch with the Celts in Friday night’s play-in game against the Chicago Bulls. Their best player, Jimmy Butler, was out with a knee injury, and really, you couldn’t have blamed the Heat for getting waxed.

HOWEVER, in merely the latest example of how little the NBA regular season means, the Heat once again proved that they can flip a switch, get everyone on their squad to fanatically believe in #HEATCulture, and play some of the best basketball in the league on any given night. They walloped the Bulls, and the final score made it look even closer than it was.

You might wonder why I mentioned the flight situation from 2023 at the top of this article, and in the headline. Well, take a wild guess as to which team booked a flight for Beantown and an anticipated first-round playoff matchup, and who was eager to lock in a return trip home, despite a prospective series starting less than 48 hours later.


Not saying the Bulls players wanted to lose, but come on. One team played like they wanted to keep playing. The other looked like they had their minds on Cancun. Chicago got embarrassed, packed up, and sent on an extended vacation.

Look at how fired up Erik Spoelstra was in the locker room afterwards. This is what it’s all about, y’all.

And how dare Kendrick Perkins and Michael Wilbon try to say Heat fans are front-runners.

Now the Heat are all of a sudden in a no-lose scenario. They made the freaking NBA Finals in 2023 as an eighth seed, and are in the exact same position this time around. Rather than facing the Celtics in the Conference Finals, they’ve got Game 1 in Boston on Sunday.

If it were any other team, I’d say they couldn’t get it done without Butler, but let’s face it: The Heat are in Boston’s heads at least to some degree. They knocked them off to make it to the 2020 NBA Finals as well. All the pressure is on the Celtics after finishing the regular season with far and away the best record at 64-18. Imagine if they get bounced by a Jimmy Buckets-less Miami squad in Round 1. LOL.

One key difference between last season’s Heat team that went to the NBA Finals is that Tyler Herro is healthy.

Let’s just say we didn’t see DeMar DeRozan or anyone else on the Bulls rising to the occasion like Herro did with a near triple-double on Friday eve. Could it be because they were determined to not make the trip to Boston? I’m not going to 100% rule it out!

Anyway, Herro’s presence, combined with that of stellar rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr., should be enough to make the matchup with the Celts a legit series. We shall see. That’s easily one of the best first-round showdowns in recent memory. Playoff basketball is here at long last! Let’s go!!

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock