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Who: Miami Heat (34-36) at San Antonio Spurs (42-29)
What: Two Rolling Teams
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
When: Wednesday, March 20, 2019, 8:30PM EST
Why: Keep it Going
Injuries: O-Rodney McGruder (Knee), O-Justise Winslow (Thigh)
The Heat have won two of their last three, something I addressed in my recent Heat in a Flash article (shameless self-promotion is okay in journalism). They look to continue their recent success in a game against the Spurs, a team that’s won nine straight. Jeez, Popovich’s teams can turn it on.
The Spurs beat the Warriors on Monday night, 111-105. Big deal. The Heat did it too. Not impressed. Oh, they beat the Bucks last week? Oh. Interesting. Cool.
The Heat beat the Thunder, another highly-touted Western playoff team, on Monday, 116-107.
These two teams have faced off once this season, with the Heat getting the win. This is the final meeting between these teams, so get prepped for some Wade-Coach Pop respect at the end.
The Heat don’t have Justise Winslow, one of their best distributors, at the helm today. When Dragic and Wade come off the bench, the passing is fine, but it struggles without them. The opposite can be said about San Antonio.
They’re a well-oiled basketball machine with effective passing, the league’s highest three-point percentage (due mostly to the absurd amount of open threes they get), and two superstar players in LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan that can score at will.
So, defensively, pick your poison. Shut down their superstars, or stop their effective ball movement. It’s hard to do both, but nobody would be mad if you did. Spurs point guard Derrick White has also had a nice stretch of games recently, so it will be important for the Heat to try and keep a check on him.
Another key is athleticism. The Spurs don’t have a ton of guys that can jump out of the gym, especially in the big man department. Bam Adebayo is going to need to make a statement early and show that he can outrebound anyone else on the court based on athleticism alone.
The Spurs are last in the league in steals, and force the least amount of turnovers from their opponents on average. The Heat still have the tendency to turn the ball over. Take advantage of a weaker defense and try and get some extra ball movement going. Find out what works in a Winslow-less offense.
Final score prediction: 107-98 Spurs
The Spurs meet their Texan rivals, the Rockets, in Houston on Friday.
The Heat play the league-leading Bucks again on Friday, this time in Wisconsin.
The Heat are 1.5 games ahead of the Magic for the eighth seed, and the Hornets are 1.5 games behind them (let’s consider Charlotte irrelevant for the time being, sorry Kemba). The Heat have gained significant ground on the Nets, who just won a thriller against the Kings last night. D’Angelo Russell had 27 fourth-quarter points. They deserved it. The Heat are 1.5 games behind them, and the Nets are 1.5 games behind the Pistons.