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Miami Heat vs Los Angeles Clippers preview

Looking to bounce back from their preseason opener loss to the Hawks, the Miami Heat will face the Los Angeles Clippers in the MasterCard Center in Beijing, China. Will LeBron James and Blake Griffin be guarding each other? Tune in Thursday morning at 7:30am on NBATV to find out.

Marc Serota - Getty Images

Probable Starters

Dwyane Wade hopes to make his preseason debut against the Clippers but if he's unable to play, Mike Miller will likely start in his place once again. Still responding and rehabilitating from his offseason knee surgery, Wade practiced Tuesday and Wednesday in Beijing, informing the media that his knee responded well to a gradual return. Although an official decision hasn't been made public yet, all signs point towards Wade being medically cleared for Thursdays game.

Norris Cole is once again listed as a probable starter, with Mario Chalmers still questionable with a quad injury. Shane Battier and LeBron James are both expected to start with Chris Bosh once again slotted at Center.

The Game

Normally a matchup between "Lob City" and the defending world champions would spark massive media attention and super stardom analysis but both teams are still short handed. Chris Paul will be held out, still recovering from thumb surgery and Chauncey Billups remains sidelined (Achilles heel).

With Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan starting for the Clippers, fans should pay close attention to how Miami defends the two bigs. Since LeBron has relished the starting power forward position, does that mean he will guard Blake Griffin? If so, it will be fascinating to see how that matchup pans out on both sides of the floor.

One interesting matchup could be at the point guard position, with Norris Cole and Eric Bledsoe. Cole has yet to establish himself as a consistent backup in this league but has shown promise in spurts. Bledsoe has shown flashes of his potential since being drafted in 2010, but arguably displayed a coming out party in last years playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs. The two young point guards should see plenty of minutes defending one another and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Let's play Ball!

Game Notes

  • The Heat and Clippers have met only once in the preseason, with the Clippers winning that game 118-108.
  • The Heat and Clippers will play two games in the preseason in Beijing and Shanghai.