United Airlines offers to fly Diar DeRozan to Miami for Friday’s play-in game vs. Heat

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After losing their first play-in tournament game on Tuesday to the Atlanta Hawks, the Miami Heat will have one more chance to reach the NBA Playoffs when they face the Chicago Bulls in their second and final play-in contest.

Diar DeRozan, the daughter of Bulls star DeMar DeRozan, attended the Bulls’ last play-in contest on Wednesday at the Toronto Raptors, and United Airlines has offered to fly her to Miami for Friday’s big game.

The younger DeRozan not only came to the game to support her father, but she also perhaps contributed to Chicago’s victory by screaming loudly whenever Raptors players attempted free throws.

It may have played a factor in the Raptors missing 18 foul shots, as well as Pascal Siakam bricking two of three from the line with seconds remaining and a chance to tie the game.

Chicago survived, 109-105, despite trailing by a large margin at one point.

In the Bulls, the Heat will have to deal with a team that has played outstanding defense since the All-Star break and features two outstanding and explosive wing players in the elder DeRozan and Zach LaVine.

It will be a challenging matchup for a Heat team that finished last in points per game and was the only squad to average less than 110 points per game in the regular season.

In addition, the Bulls feature center Nikola Vucevic, who averaged 17.6 points and 11.0 rebounds a game in the regular season. He is a wide-bodied big man who the Heat will have their hands full trying to stop.

Frontcourt size has been a problem for them all season long, and other than Cody Zeller, they lack any regular rotation players who are taller than 6-foot-9.

If Miami manages to come out of Friday’s game on top, it will start the NBA Playoffs against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.

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Robert is a native of Santa Monica, Calif. and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an avid NBA fan since he was a little kid in the mid '90s, and during that time he has lived through the Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James era of Heat basketball. He feels strongly that the NBA and sports aren't just entertainment, but also a means for learning life lessons.