Remembering last season’s thrilling victory over the Golden State Warriors, the Miami Heat hope to defy the odds once again on Sunday evening at American Airlines Arena. Consistently inconsistent this season, the Heat are 11-11 with extreme highs and lows to arrive at the .500 mark. We’ll see which team shows up on Sunday.
When: Sunday, December 3 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
TV: Fox Sports Sun, NBALP
Radio: WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)
Win probability: FiveThirtyEight gives Miami a 26% chance to win.
HEAT: Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo
WARRIORS: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Zaza Pachulia
HEAT: Rodney McGruder (out, leg fracture), Okaro White (out, foot fracture), Hassan Whiteside (out, bone bruise)
WARRIORS: Stephen Curry (probable, right hand contusion), Kevin Durant (probable, sprained right ankle), Andre Iguodala (questionable, sore left knee)
In their first meeting Golden State limited Miami to their lowest point total of the season, 80 points. In that game the Heat held the Warriors to under 100 points for first time in their season. So far they been held under the century mark by only one other team, the Boston Celtics.
This the first game of a back-to-back for the Warriors, as they visit the New Orleans Pelicans Monday night on their longest road trip of the season.
Earlier in the season Miami often started off strong in the first, but in the last 4 games first periods have been a struggle with 7 points against the Chicago Bulls and a 16-1 hole versus the Charlotte Hornets.
In those 4 games the starters are LAST in the NBA in plus/minus with a net -10, last in field goals made, last in FT%, next to last in points scored (52). The bench is 4th best in points scored (45) and 8th in +/-. The bench has stepped up after a power failure by the starters to begin the last four games.
If Richardson continues his resurgence and Dragic snaps out his his slump, the Heat could make this game more competitive than the first one’s 17-point loss. Getting off to a good beginning is essential, since Miami is 10-3 when leading at halftime, and 1-8 when trailing.
An important key is 3-point shooting, because the Heat is 6-1 when they convert 3’s at 40% or better. Miami is only 1-5 when opponent’s bench outscores the Heat’s, so the second unit will have to work to contain the Warrior’s reserves.
An odd quirk is that Miami is 3-6 when it attempts more field goals than the other team, but 8-4 when they attempt less shots. Hard to decipher, but probably has to do with forcing more bad shots when behind.