The Miami Heat welcomed back Beno Udrih and Luol Deng last night but it was an all-around team effort that saw the end of their four game losing streak in an impressive road win against the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.
Dwyane Wade, of course, was the star of the night as he lead the Heat in crunch time with several impressive scores, the highlight of which was a step back jumper over the outstretched arms of Pau Gasol to ice the game. But it was also his nimble footwork which enabled him to score inside all night too. Chris Bosh played well in support, as did Amar'e Stoudemire and Justise Winslow, whose contributions in the second half with some monster rebounds and solid defense to help shut down Jimmy Butler were crucial in victory. Udrih's presence also helped restore order to the offense while Goran Dragic remains sidelined.
The Heat remain capable of winning individual games against solid teams, but what remains to be seen is whether they can string together a series of victories while playing consistently. Though they're not quite as banged up as they were during their losing streak, they'll want to put together a solid performance against the Brooklyn Nets (12-33) on Tuesday night while being mindful of the minutes their reserves played last night.
It's no secret the Nets have struggled this season, but they also bounced back in their last game to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 116-106 on Sunday to end their five game losing streak and win for just the third time this month. They remain without a true coach and a general manager in place after owner Mikhail Prokhorov decided to shake things up recently after failing to rise up and become an elite team in the East these past few seasons, but they still have a few interesting players in their roster that can create matchup problems for the Heat.
Perhaps the most intriguing battle will be between Bosh and Brook Lopez, who has had big games in the past against Miami and was solid versus the Thunder in victory. Joe Johnson isn't the same player he used to be, but remains a threat from the outside as well as reserve sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic, who scored 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting against the Thunder.
Miami took the first game of the season between these two teams on the road in December but the Nets got their revenge the last time they faced off.
The Heat remain without Dragic (calf), Josh McRoberts (knee) and Hassan Whiteside, who continues to rehab a strained oblique but did get to meet one of his childhood idols Dikembe Mutombu last night in Chicago.
When you get to meet your childhood idol... "Keep up the good work. Keep blocking. Don't try and break my record!" pic.twitter.com/gLA1lZN75H— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 26, 2016
NetsDaily is reporting that Andrea Bargnani was under the weather and missed practice yesterday. His status for tonight's game is unknown.
Probable Starting Lineups
PG - Beno Udrih
SG - Dwyane Wade
C - Amar'e Stoudemire
SF - Luol Deng
PF - Chris Bosh
PG - Donald Sloan
SG - Wayne Ellington
C - Brook Lopez
SF - Joe Johnson
PF - Thaddeus Young
Tipoff is at 7:30 pm, check back here at Hot Hot Hoops for the GameThread!