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HHH GameTime Preview: Heat host Wizards in season opener

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The Heat open up their four-time Eastern Conference title defense tonight against the shorthanded Washington Wizards.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday night at the AmericanAirlines Arena, the Miami Heat will open up their 27th NBA season when they host the Washington Wizards at 7:30 PM.

This will be the first of four contests between the two teams this season, with a return to Miami on December 19th. They'll play in Washington D.C. on December 1st and March 6th. After tonight's matchup, the Heat will head to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers on Saturday. The Wizards get no rest after tonight's game, facing off against the Orlando Magic tomorrow night before returning to Washington for their home opener against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.

Miami last played the Wizards on April 14th in the second to last game of the 2013-14 regular season. Miami (54-26) rested LeBron James and Chris Bosh in preparation for the playoffs as the Wizards (42-38) rolled to a 114-93 victory. For Washington, Trevor Ariza shot 10-of-13 from the field to lead them with 25 points. John Wall had 13 assists, and Marcin Gortat supported the cause with 10 points and 13 boards. Andre Miller pitched in with nine helpers off the bench, and Nene Hilario (18) and Al Harrington (16) also finished in double figures. For Miami, Michael Beasley came off the bench to lead the club with 18. Toney Douglas added 14, Ray Allen had 13 while going three-for-five from deep, and James Jones added 11 in the losing cause * Box Score * Full Recap

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra spoke later about resting Miami's big guns:

It was out of control at some point and those guys have put a lot of mileage [on]. Our schedule was fairly extreme down the stretch. ... It is not an excuse. We just wanted to make sure that our guys are feeling right, that they are sharp, they are feeling healthy ... a couple of days will do wonders for them.

Bullets Forever has more on the Wizards.

The last meaningful game for the Heat was a 104-87 Game five loss in the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs on June 15th. LeBron James scored 31 points with 10 rebounds, Chris Bosh had 13, and Dwyane Wade scored 11 in the loss. The Spurs were led by Kawhi Leonard's 22 points and 10 rebounds. Tony Parker scored 16, Tim Duncan had 14, Manu Ginobili had 19 off the bench, and Patrick Mills pitched in with 17. * Box Score * Full Recap

Coach Spo praised the Spurs later on:

They played exquisite basketball in this series and in particular these last three games. They are the better team. There is no other way to say it. They played great basketball, and we couldn't respond to it.

For more on the Spurs, check out Pounding the Rock.

The Wizards last game action came on May 15th in the second round of the 2014 postseason, a game six, 93-80 loss to the Indiana Pacers. Marcin Gortat scored 19 to lead the Wiz, with supporting double digit efforts from Bradley Beal (16), Nene Hilario (15), and John Wall (12 points, eight assists). The Pacers were led by David West, who scored 29 points with six rebounds. Lance Stephenson had 17 with eight assists, Paul George scored a dozen, and George Hill and Roy Hibbert had 11 apiece for the win. * Box Score * Full Recap

Marcin Gortat spoke about the loss after the game:

I think we had a few turnovers. I don't think we secured the ball on the defensive glass. I guess it was just a bigger will of winning the game and unfortunately we were not able to close it.

For more on Indiana (although who would want to go there, amirite?) head on over to Indy Cornrows.

GameTime: 7:30 PM ET

Where2Watch: LEAGUE PASS, CSN, Sun Sports

Where2Hear: NBA Game Time Audio / WNEW 99.1 FM / WFED, 104.3 The Ticket

All-Time Record: Miami is 72-33 against Washington. Their 106th matchup will make the Bullets/Wizards Miami's most common opponent, and their .686 winning percentage is their second best against any franchise.

Current Record

None yet, stay tuned.

Milestones

If Miami loses tonight's game, it will the 1000th in franchise history against 1085 wins.

If Shannon Brown, Andre Dawkins, Luol Deng, James Ennis, Danny Granger, Josh McRoberts, Shabazz Napier, and Shawne Williams all play, they will be the 205th through the 212th players to have taken the floor for the Heat franchise. After taking the floor tonight, Dwayne Wade and Udonis Haslem will break their current tie in seasons played by appearing in their 12th season. They currently share the mark with Alonzo Mourning. They are also ranked 1-2 in games played, with 719 for Wade and 715 for Haslem.

With 13 minutes on the floor, Haslem will join Wade in the 20,000 minutes club for Miami. Mario Chalmers will pass Bimbo Coles on the all-time rebounds list into 21st with five, which would give him 1170. If Chris Bosh has one assist, he will tie "The Glove" Gary Payton in 24th with 1158. Five more will tie him with Rod Strickland, in 23rd. With five more steals, Chalmers will have 666, tying him in second all-time with Grant Long. Two more blocks will move Udonis Haslem into Miami's all-time top 10, tying John Salley with 233.

Birthdays

Tomorrow, original Heat player Kevin Edwards turns 49. He played 357 games for Miami through their first five seasons, leading the team as a rookie by scoring 13.8 points per game.

Elsewhere

Tonight's matchup is just one of 12 on schedule as the NBA ramps up their schedule from the three played last night.

Milwaukee Bucks at Charlotte Hornets 7PM
Philadelphia 76ers at Indiana Pacers 7PM
Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics 7:30PM
Atlanta Hawks at Toronto Raptors 7:30PM
Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies 8PM
Chicago Bulls at New York Knicks 8PM
Detroit Pistons at Denver Nuggets 9PM
Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz 9PM
Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns 10PM
Golden State Warriors at Sacramento Kings 10PM
Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers 10:30PM

Probable Starting Lineups

Miami Heat

PG - Mario Chalmers / Norris Cole
PF - Udonis Haslem / Josh McRoberts
C - Chris Bosh / Chris Andersen
SF - Luol Deng / Shawne Williams
SG - Dwyane Wade / Danny Granger

McRoberts is the de facto starter at power forward, but it's currently unclear if he will be available tonight.

Washington Wizards

PG - John Wall / Andre Miller
PF - Drew Gooden / Kevin Seraphin
C - Marcin Gortat / Kris Humphries
SF - Paul Pierce / Otto Porter
SG - Martell Webster / Glen Rice (Jr.)

Four Wizards are suspended for their preseason altercation with the Chicago Bulls. DeJuan Blair, Daniel Orton, Xavier Silas, and Nene Hilario will each miss one game. As a result, Drew Gooden will get most of the minutes at power forward, and Kevin Seraphin will get a rare chance at some substantial floor time. He played just over 20 minutes per night in 2011-12 and 2012-13, but saw his time cut in half last season.

Apparently, John Wall has his own song (recorded either during or before his rookie season). I think every other player in the NBA should follow suit. Can you think of some songs you'd like for some of your Heat players?

That's it for the preview. Join us later in the game thread, check out our award winning recap, like us on FaceBook, follow us on Twitter, and keep checking back here for all of the latest and greatest Heat news.