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Game Preview: Heat visit last-place Nets in bid for fifth straight win

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It’s a battle between the two teams at the bottom of the East standings.

NBA: Preseason-Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat (15-30) have their first true win streak of the season and have an excellent chance at making it five consecutive victories when they visit the league-worse Brooklyn Nets (9-35) tonight at 7:30pm.

They’re playing their best basketball of the season at a time when practically their entire youth movement are all out with an assortment of injuries. Justise Winslow has been ruled out for the season, Josh Richardson continues a rash of injuries which began even before the season starter, and now Tyler Johnson is dealing with discomfort in the same pesky shoulder he had offseason surgery for.

Although all three players are indispensable for the Heat as they continue developing, veterans Dion Waiters and Goran Dragic have been playing at an All-Star level for Miami during their perfect 4-0 homestand. Waiters tied his career-high of 33 points and is shooting 64.1 percent (25-of-39) from the field, including 68.8 percent (11-of-16) from three-point range in his last two games and Dragic has averaged 25.3 points in his last three games.

Coupled with Hassan Whiteside’s presence in the paint and James Johnson’s versatility and energy off the bench, the team has been turning their all-out effort into tangible results as of late. Even Okaro White is getting the opportunity to show what he can do during his 10-day contract with all these injured players on the bench.

And yet even with this improved play the past several games, only the Nets have a worse record in the league and only the Nets and Lakers have more losses. Heat Nation will no choice but to continue to feel conflicted about rooting for the team to win while also balancing out the desire for as many lottery balls as possible.

Brooklyn owns a 7-16 record at home and have won just once in their last 10 games. So yeah, this might get ugly. It’s the first of three matchups this season between the two teams that are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

numberFire’s metrics currently give Miami a 62.3% chance to win tomorrow against Brooklyn (and a 1.6% percent chance to make the playoffs). Here is a full breakdown of projections for the game. More information about the Heat can be found on their team page here.


Game Details

Monday, 7:30 PM EST

TV: Fox Sports FL, NBALP

Radio: 790 the Ticket

Injuries

Heat: Justise Winslow (right shoulder), Josh McRoberts (left foot fracture), Josh Richardson (left foot sprain) and Chris Bosh are all OUT tonight, and Tyler Johnson (strained left shoulder) is not traveling with the team as he deals with a shoulder injury.

Nets: Jeremy Lin (strained left hamstring) is out. Joe Harris has missed the past two games with a sprained left ankle.

Projected Starters

MIAMI

  • Goran Dragic
  • Dion Waiters
  • Rodney McGruder
  • Luke Babbitt
  • Hassan Whiteside

BROOKLYN

  • Randy Foye
  • Spencer Dinwiddie
  • Bojan Bogdanovic
  • Trevor Booker
  • Brook Lopez

Tune in tonight at 7:30pm and watch and make sure you come back and join us on our GameThread to chat about it.