And Miami is hosting the reigning NBA champions tonight, who have won 13 of their last 16 games.
Still, Miami has no excuses to come out flat in an 8 p.m. national telecast on TNT. Still trying to ward off Boston and catch up to Milwaukee, the Heat cannot afford to concede a game this late in the season.
Unfortunately for the Heat, it's unlikely Gregg Popovich will rest his starters when his team visits Miami for the first time since annihilating the Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals. San Antonio is currently in sixth place in the Western Conference, but just three games behind the No. 2 seeded Memphis Grizzlies. The Spurs, who have yet to clinch a playoff seed, are also just two-and-a-half games ahead of the Dallas Mavericks.
It's sort of like the situation the Heat find themselves in. Except, you know, the Spurs are 47-26 and the Heat are 34-39.
It would certainly help to have Whiteside as a 7-foot presence against Tim Duncan and the rest of the Spurs. Without Whiteside and Andersen, Miami has played without anyone taller than 6-foot-8. It would also help to have Luol Deng match up against 2014 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who has averaged 19 points per game on 52 percent shooting over his last six games.
But Miami just needs to submit a complete game with 48 minutes of intensity and defense. Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic and (hopefully) Whiteside will lead the way, and the supporting cast will contribute timely baskets. The Heat blew out the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this month, so it's possible.