With Butler out, Jaquez Jr., Herro step up to combine for 45, Heat cruise past Bulls into playoffs

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Play-In Tournament
Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Play-In Tournament

Call it another example of Heat culture. Call it another example of a well-constructed roster with quality depth.

Just make sure to call it another Miami win in a big game.

Tyler Herro scored 24 with four 3-pointers, rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 21, and the Miami Heat defense held the Chicago Bulls in check and cruised to a 112-91 win in the final play-in game in the East.

"These games are fun. Play-in games are fun," Eric Spoelstra said postgame (via Brady Hawk). "I'd rather not be in the play-in game, but play-in games are fun."

For the second consecutive season the Miami Heat advance as the No. 8 seed to take on the Boston Celtics in the first round. Miami won that series a year ago, propelling them all the way to the NBA Finals, but this season they will have to at least start that series — on Sunday, in Boston — without Jimmy Butler. The Heat announced he has a sprained MCL and while they didn't give a timeline for a return, Jeff Stotts at In Street Clothes notes that even mild sprains typically take about three weeks before the player can return to the court. That has Butler out for the entire series.

Heat fans, be careful what you wish for. This is a better Boston team than it was a season ago.

For the Bulls, their season is over. For the second consecutive year, they have been bounced as the No. 9 seed while the front office and ownership bet on continuity. The team has big decisions to make this offseason, such as a new contract for DeMar DeRozan and if they can trade Zach LaVine.

While Miami had players step up on the offensive end — Kevin Love had 16 points off the bench — it was their Bam Adebayo-led defense that was the difference. Miami held Chicago to 38% shooting overall, and the Bulls' 91 points tied their season low. DeMar DeRozan had 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting but Adebayo was on him for stretches and kept him in relative check, and nobody else was efficient for Chicago. Coby White, who had 41 against the Hawks, finished with 13 points on 5-of-16 shooting.

Ultimately, it showed how far apart these two franchises are right now. Miami will be aggressive this offseason, and they are looking to add another star scorer to the mix with Butler to chase rings. Chicago this summer... please check back later for an answer.