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Heat close in on clinching, top Bulls 103-92

MIAMI (AP) No matter the opponent, there are two constant principles of the Miami Heat playoff philosophy.

Win at home.

Defend like mad.

There's no playoff berth to officially celebrate yet, but the Heat are getting into that postseason mode. Miami held Chicago to 37 percent shooting on the way to beating the Bulls 103-92 on Thursday night, pushing its home winning streak to a season-best eight games, and cutting the magic number for clinching a playoff spot to one.

''I think we're pretty solid on defense right now,'' said Heat guard Josh Richardson, who led all scorers with 22 points. ''But it can be better.''

Goran Dragic added 17 points for Miami, which got 13 from Justise Winslow and 11 from Kelly Olynyk. The Heat (41-35) moved within a half-game of Washington for the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race; the Wizards lost at Detroit earlier Thursday, an outcome that meant Miami will have to wait at least a couple more days to clinch.

''I want to start the playoffs right away,'' Dragic said. ''But first, we need to take care of business and be professional.''

The Heat need one more win or one more Detroit loss to wrap up their 20th postseason trip in 30 seasons. The Pistons are in New York on Saturday, in a game that should be over before the start of Miami's home game against Brooklyn.

Bulls center Robin Lopez was ejected after picking up a pair of technicals with 8:43 remaining, ending his 13-point, six-rebound night. The Bulls dropped their seventh straight, making this the third losing streak that lasted at least that long for Chicago this season.

Lopez had plenty to say to the officials as he walked off the floor, gesturing and pointing as he yelled his case.

''I was emotional. I had a life reaction,'' Lopez said. ''I felt I was never given the time to cool down. I was making my way towards the bench and I was hit with that second T right away. I was a little caught off guard. ... It's not something I'm particularly ashamed of. I play with passion. If I do something I feel is wrong, I apologize for it. If not, I'll stand by it.''

David Nwaba scored 15 points, Noah Vonleh added 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Bobby Portis ended up with 13 points and 16 rebounds for Chicago.

''I thought we came out with greater effort,'' Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. ''We sustained it for the game. We did let it get away from us a little bit in the fourth quarter.''

Miami led most of the way, trailing for only 14 seconds in the opening quarter. The Bulls didn't make it easy, getting within four late in the third and cutting what was a 19-point deficit down to 12 after Lopez's ejection.

But Olynyk answered with six straight points for Miami, part of a 48-point Heat bench effort.

Heat center Hassan Whiteside returned from a nine-game absence with a hip problem, scoring eight points and grabbing seven rebounds in just under 20 minutes.

''It's just good to have him back,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

TIP-INS

Bulls: Rookie forward Lauri Markkanen (elbow) got the night off. The Bulls are thinking that he can play in Orlando on Friday. ... Justin Holiday scored 13 for the Bulls.

Heat: Tyler Johnson left in the first half with a sprained right ankle. ... Thursday was the 22nd anniversary of Alonzo Mourning's career-high 50-point game for Miami.

SLOW NIGHT

Miami came in averaging 11.2 makes from 3-point range per game. The Heat went 7 for 27 from deep Thursday, and are 16 for 56 in their last two games.

SPLIT DECISION

Chicago beat Miami on Thursday, and then Miami beat Chicago. A couple miles from AmericanAirlines Arena, the Cubs topped the Marlins 8-4 in an opening day game that preceded the Heat victory over the Bulls.

PERSPECTIVE

The Bulls won four playoff series in 1997-98, Michael Jordan's final season in Chicago. They've won five playoff series in the 20 seasons since.

UP NEXT

Bulls: Visit Orlando on Friday.

Heat: Host Brooklyn on Saturday.

Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
B. Portis
5 PF
G. Dragic
7 PG
31.8 Min. Per Game 31.8
17.4 Pts. Per Game 17.4
4.9 Ast. Per Game 4.9
4.0 Reb. Per Game 4.0
46.5 Field Goal % 44.9
46.5 Three Point % 44.8
78.0 Free Throw % 80.3
+ 2 Bobby Portis made layup, assist by Cameron Payne 0:04
  Team rebound 0:09
  Justise Winslow missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:09
  Bad pass turnover on Bobby Portis, stolen by Kelly Olynyk 0:32
  Bad pass turnover on James Johnson, stolen by Cameron Payne 0:36
  Defensive rebound by Justise Winslow 0:55
  Justin Holiday missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:57
+ 3 Kelly Olynyk made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by James Johnson 1:05
+ 2 Bobby Portis made jump shot 1:27
  Personal foul on James Johnson 1:36
  Team rebound 1:36
Team Stats
Points 92 103
Field Goals 33-90 (36.7%) 37-82 (45.1%)
3-Pointers 6-26 (23.1%) 7-27 (25.9%)
Free Throws 20-26 (76.9%) 22-24 (91.7%)
Total Rebounds 63 47
Offensive 14 7
Defensive 36 37
Team 13 3
Assists 19 20
Steals 10 7
Blocks 5 7
Turnovers 18 17
Fouls 19 23
Technicals 4 0
14 PTS, 13 REB, 1 AST
22 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST
1234T
away team logo Bulls 24-51 2125222492
home team logo Heat 41-35 29222725103
Team Stats
away team logo Bulls 24-51 PPG RPG APG
home team logo Heat 41-35 103.4 PPG 41 RPG 23.8 APG
Key Players
D. Nwaba SF PPG RPG APG FG%
J. Richardson SF 12.9 PPG 3.5 RPG 2.9 APG 45.1 FG%
Top Scorers
D. Nwaba SF 15 PTS 7 REB 4 AST
J. Richardson SF 22 PTS 5 REB 3 AST
36.7 FG% 45.1
23.1 3PT FG% 25.9
76.9 FT% 91.7
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
D. Nwaba 35 15 7 4 0 1 2 2 4/11 1/1 6/8 1 6 29 -2
N. Vonleh 32 14 13 1 2 0 1 1 5/12 1/4 3/4 3 10 30 -6
J. Holiday 21 13 1 1 1 0 1 2 3/10 3/7 4/4 0 1 16 +1
R. Lopez 30 13 6 1 0 3 3 4 6/12 0/1 1/2 2 4 21 -11
C. Payne 29 11 0 5 1 0 3 2 4/10 1/4 2/2 0 0 19 -7
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
D. Nwaba 35 15 7 4 0 1 2 2 4/11 1/1 6/8 1 6 29 -2
N. Vonleh 32 14 13 1 2 0 1 1 5/12 1/4 3/4 3 10 30 -6
J. Holiday 21 13 1 1 1 0 1 2 3/10 3/7 4/4 0 1 16 +1
R. Lopez 30 13 6 1 0 3 3 4 6/12 0/1 1/2 2 4 21 -11
C. Payne 29 11 0 5 1 0 3 2 4/10 1/4 2/2 0 0 19 -7
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
B. Portis 32 13 16 0 2 1 6 1 6/16 0/3 1/2 7 9 26 -5
S. Kilpatrick 14 5 1 0 2 0 0 1 1/7 0/3 3/3 0 1 8 -11
D. Valentine 24 4 4 4 2 0 1 3 2/10 0/3 0/0 0 4 17 -10
J. Grant 11 2 1 1 0 0 1 3 1/1 0/0 0/1 1 0 4 -9
R. Arcidiacono 6 2 1 2 0 0 0 0 1/1 0/0 0/0 0 1 7 +5
O. Asik - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Dunn - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Z. LaVine - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Eddie - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Felicio - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Blakeney - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
P. Zipser - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Markkanen - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 234 92 50 19 10 5 18 19 33/90 6/26 20/26 14 36 177 -55
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Richardson 33 22 5 3 0 2 1 3 8/16 1/4 5/5 1 4 34 +13
G. Dragic 32 17 5 5 1 0 2 3 6/11 1/3 4/4 1 4 31 +4
H. Whiteside 19 8 7 4 1 2 2 2 3/8 0/0 2/2 3 4 24 -2
T. Johnson 12 6 0 0 0 0 1 1 3/6 0/3 0/0 0 0 5 +4
J. Johnson 30 2 8 2 0 2 2 3 1/5 0/1 0/0 1 7 14 +6
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Richardson 33 22 5 3 0 2 1 3 8/16 1/4 5/5 1 4 34 +13
G. Dragic 32 17 5 5 1 0 2 3 6/11 1/3 4/4 1 4 31 +4
H. Whiteside 19 8 7 4 1 2 2 2 3/8 0/0 2/2 3 4 24 -2
T. Johnson 12 6 0 0 0 0 1 1 3/6 0/3 0/0 0 0 5 +4
J. Johnson 30 2 8 2 0 2 2 3 1/5 0/1 0/0 1 7 14 +6
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Winslow 26 13 9 2 1 1 2 2 5/8 1/3 2/3 0 9 26 +4
K. Olynyk 17 11 3 0 1 0 3 5 4/7 2/4 1/1 1 2 12 +3
W. Ellington 26 8 1 0 0 0 2 1 2/8 1/7 3/3 0 1 7 +2
D. Wade 18 8 3 4 3 0 2 1 2/7 0/0 4/4 0 3 20 +9
R. McGruder 12 5 3 0 0 0 0 1 2/4 1/2 0/0 0 3 8 +2
B. Adebayo 11 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 1/2 0/0 1/2 0 0 3 +10
L. Babbitt - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Waiters - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Mickey - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Jones Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Walton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
U. Haslem - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 236 103 44 20 7 7 17 23 37/82 7/27 22/24 7 37 184 +55