It's going to be a very challenging week for the Miami Heat as they look to climb back into the playoff. This week, they'll have three home games against West teams and travel for their fourth game which will begin a four game road trip. The Heat will have to be playing great ball to get these wins.
We are going to look at each game and take a brief look at matchups, and as always give you a solid fantasy play with FanDuel.
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Cleveland @ Miami
DETAILS: Monday, 8:00 PM EST
The last time the Cavaliers and the Heat played, the Cavs had their way with the Heat for most of the game. That was a rough one. The Heat did beat the Cavs on Christmas day, but these are two different teams now. Cleveland has been on a roll and is currently #2 in the East.
The Cavs did play last night in Orlando, although Kevin Love sat out for rest. Kyrie Irving has been on a tear, scoring 57 points just a few games ago. And then there is LeBron James. This is going to be a challenging matchup for the Heat. They will need to muster some motivation to close the talent gap. Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic have to be at the top of their game.
I think the solid FanDuel play in this game is Kevin Love. With the rest and the Heat's weaker front line due to injuries, Love should have a great numbers game.
Portland @ Miami
DETAILS: Wednesday, 7:30 PM EST
Miami competed in Portland earlier this year, but fell short. The Blazers are without Wesley Matthews, who has been a problem for the Heat, but now have Arron Afflalo. Again, this won't be easy. Miami is going to have to play great ball here. Damian Lillard will always be tough to guard.
The biggest problem for the Heat will be the FanDuel play of the night: LaMarcus Aldridge. There is no one on Miami's active roster than can slow him down. I think he's going to have a massive night. But on top of that...bonus play here, I think Goran Dragic is a solid start also.
Look for the Heat to slow the tempo against the Blazers because they play their best at a fast pace. If Miami can keep Portland around 94 points, they could have a shot to get this game.
Denver @ Miami
DETAILS: Friday, 7:30 PM EST
Our of any of these matchups, this is the one the Heat have to get. Denver is on the downward spiral. Currently 15 gams under .500, the Nuggets already fired their coach Brian Shaw. The Heat have to take advantage of this and get a win against a lesser opponent. Denver will also be on the end of a back-to-back playing in Houston the night before coming to Miami.
There's one great play in this game and that's Hassan Whiteside. After shipping out Timofey Mozgov and JaVale McGee earlier this year, the Nuggets are void at center and don't have much depth. If Hassan can keep his head straight, he should be able to have a noteworthy game.
I expect the Heat to win this game, but that doesn't mean it's going to be a cake walk.
Miami @ Oklahoma City
DETAILS: Sunday, 3:00 PM EST
Unfortunately for the Heat, Kevin Durant very well could be back in the Thunder lineup by the time this game comes around. Maybe that's good? At this point, it seems that Durant might be the only person in the NBA that can slow down Russell Westbrook. Westbrook has been on an unprecedented tear when he recorded 6 triple doubles in 8 games.
The Thunder have everything they need to make the Heat struggle. A scoring point guard, depth up front, and a big who can stretch the floor. Westbrook, Stephen Adams, Enes Kanter and Serge Ibaka will all create issues for Miami, and on the road, this is tough for the Heat.
Even worse, the Thunder are fighting for the playoffs, they are just as motivated as the Heat, maybe more. Your solid FanDuel play is obviously Russell Westbrook. But if he's too pricey for you, then a good pick would be Serge Ibaka.
Remember, these are all just my opinions regarding fantasy basketball and aren't affiliated with FanDuel. FD has given me some money to get going, and it's been a lot of fun so far.