Miami Heat hopes to “have enough” to continue in the Playoffs

MIAMI-. When injuries affect the Miami Heatcoach Erik Spoelstra almost always offers the same perspective with the same words.

“We have enough,” he says.

That theory is about to be put to the test, and it will be a topic in the finals of the NBA play-in tournament on Friday night.

The four teams (Miami and Chicago in the Eastern Conference, New Orleans and Sacramento in the Western Conference) have serious injury problems heading into their matchups to decide the eighth spots in the playoff standings. Miami and New Orleans have home advantage on Friday; The winners will face No. 1 Boston and No. 1 Oklahoma City, respectively, in Round 1, beginning Sunday.

The Heat will be without Jimmy Butler (sprained right MCL) and Terry Rozier (neck) for their game against the Bulls, whose guard Alex Caruso suffered a sprained ankle in Wednesday's win over Atlanta. Miami hopes guard Duncan Robinson, who has missed 10 of the team's last 15 games with a back injury, can play.

“We're going to do this the hard way,” Spoelstra said. “That has to be the way right now. Let's rest, treat ourselves, bond with each other and prepare for Friday and again, embrace these competitive games. It's going to be competitive against our home fans and we're going to put on an incredible game on Friday night and we're going to do it the hard way. “That's the deal right now.”

The Bulls-Heat game is a rematch of last year's East play-in finale, a game Chicago led by three with 3:47 left and was outscored 15-1 the rest of the game.

“I vividly remember that plane ride back home,†Bulls guard DeMar DeRozan said. “Everyone was just frustrated. That feeling sucked. I know that's something that was on my mind once I realized we were going back to Miami: not having the same feeling.†.

NO. 9 CHICAGO (39-43, 1-0) VS. HE DOES NOT. 8 MIAMI (46-36, 0-1)

Friday, 7 p.m.

Season series: split, 2-2

Play-in appearances: 2nd for Miami (2023), 2nd for Chicago (2023).

At stake: The winner plays No. 1 seed Boston in Round 1, a series that begins Sunday. The loser is eliminated.

Here they go again. Like last year, Chicago plays in Miami with eighth place in the East at stake in an elimination game. The Heat have major injury problems with Jimmy Butler, Terry Rozier and Duncan Robinson sick, and the Bulls had to finish Wednesday's game without Alex Caruso. No Bulls team has made the playoffs with a losing record in the regular season since the 1986-87 team did so at 40-42. Miami reached the finals last season after 44 wins in the regular season; This season, 46 wins may not even be enough for a playoff berth.