Max Strus 31-point performance helps Miami Heat secure spot in NBA playoffs

Max Strus helped the Miami Heat secure a playoff spot with a 31-point performance on Friday against the Chicago Bulls. Strus played brilliantly in the Heat’s 102-91 win over the Bulls.

Max Strus of the Miami Heat shooting over Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls.

Max Strus of the Miami Heat shooting over Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls.

Strus did most of his damage in the first half, scoring 23 points on 6-for-9 shooting. All of his field goals at the half were from beyond the arc, and he also had five free throws.

The DePaul product finished with 31 points and six rebounds. He shot 50.0% from the field, including 7-for-12 from the 3-point area and 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. He’s one of the main reasons why the Heat advanced to the NBA playoffs.

Jimmy Butler also had 31 points for the Miami Heat, going 11-for-24 from the field and 9-for-10 from the free-throw line. He added five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Butler and Max Strus combined for 62 points, which was more than half the Heat’s total points.

Bam Adebayo struggled with just eight points but grabbed 17 rebounds and had four assists. Tyler Herro added 12 points, while Kevin Love and Kyle Lowry had nine and five points, respectively, off the bench.

Meanwhile, DeMar DeRozan led the Chicago Bulls with 26 points, five rebounds and nine assists. DeRozan’s daughter, Diar, who was the hero in the Bulls’ win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, was not in Miami due to her return to school.

Zach LaVine, who had a huge game against Toronto, was cold the entire game. He shot just 6-for-21 and only had 15 points. It was the end of the line for the Bulls, which was a bitter culmination of a disappointing season.

Miami Heat to take on Milwaukee Bucks in first round

Miami Heat vs Milwaukee Bucks

Miami Heat vs Milwaukee Bucks

The Miami Heat labored into the NBA playoffs, and their prize is a matchup with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Heat will look to get the upset over the Bucks, who’re the favorites to win the championship this season.

Miami and Milwaukee split their season series, with the Heat winning the first two at home in January. The Bucks came back with a vengeance at home with two wins of their own in February.

It’s the fourth time the Bucks and Heat will lock horns in the postseason and the third time in the first round. Their first matchup happened in 2013, when a LeBron James-led Heat swept the hapless Bucks.

The Heat also made quick work of the Bucks in the 2020 Eastern Conference semifinals. Jimmy Butler and the Heat eliminated Milwaukee in five games. However, the Bucks swept Miami in the first round a year later.

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