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GAME PREVIEW: Miami hosts Brooklyn aiming to win their 50th game in 2017

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The Heat close out their 2017 home schedule facing the Nets after going 27-14 at AA Arena this calendar year.

NBA: Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets Jose Mendez-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat ended last season winning 31 of their 48 games in 2017. Including their 18 wins and 16 losses since October, the Heat have a total record of 49-33 for their 82 games in the 2017 calendar year. The Heat finish their 2017 schedule at American Airlines Arena against the Brooklyn Nets looking to get 50th win this year.

Afterwards they go on the road to face the Magic in Orlando. The Heat return to Miami to ring in 2018, and have their first game of the new year on Jan. 3 versus the Detroit Pistons.

Game Information

When: Friday, December 29 at 8:00 p.m. ET

Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL

TV: Fox Sports Sun

Radio: WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

Win probability: ESPN predictor gives Miami a 73% chance to win the game.

Probable Starters

HEAT: Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, Kelly Olynyk, Hassan Whiteside

NETS: Spencer Dinwiddie, Allen Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Tyler Zeller

Injury Report

HEAT: Rodney McGruder (out, tibia surgery), Okaro White (out, foot surgery), James Johnson (out, ankle bursitis), Justise Winslow (out, knee strain), Dion Waiters (out, ankle sprain)

NETS: Jeremy Lin (out, knee), D’Angelo Russell (out, leg), Caris LeVert (questionnable, ankle)

Scouting Report

Brooklyn is 2-8, and Miami 7-3 in their last 10 games. The Nets are 5-12 on the road, while the Heat is 8-8 at home. Miami has won 11 of 19 games against Eastern Conference teams. Nets have won 6 of their 17 games Eastern Conference teams.

Dragic leads the Heat in points per game (16.4) and assists (4.4), Whiteside in rebounds (12.4) and blocks (1.5), Richardson in steals (1.2). Russell leads the Nets in points per game (20.9), Dinwiddle in assists (6.5), Carroll in rebounds (6.7), Jarrett Allen in blocks (1.0), LeVert in steals (1.3).

The Heat defeated the Nets on Dec. 9 in Mexico City, 101-89, with a different line-up than tonight’s to begin their 7-3 record for the last 10 games.

“Heat were led by Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson with 20 points each and a strong offensive effort from Justise Winslow — notably from long range with 15 points off the bench, including 4-4 from beyond the arc.

“The team’s starting five of Dragic, Dion Waiters, James Johnson, Josh Richardson, and Kelly Olynyk had mixed results and Dragic was quickly pulled in favor of Tyler Johnson four minutes into the game and the Heat soon bounced back.

“Miami took care of the ball and only committed six turnovers for the game, a season low for the team and according to ESPN the second-fewest total for an NBA team this season.”

Two players off the bench, Caris LeVert and Nik Stauskas, have played well in December, especially from long range.

“LeVert is averaging 14.4 points in December, shooting 50.1 percent overall and 44.9 percent from three. Since he joined the Nets —seven games, Staukas is averaging 10.1 points shooting 48.9 overall and 57.6 (not a typo) from three.”

The San Antonio Spurs studied game film of the Nets, who launch the second-most 3-point shots per 100 possessions (Houston Rockets are first), to defeat them 109-97 two games ago.

"The Spurs must have watched film on Brooklyn’s game at Indiana on Saturday, because they knew just how to take them out of their comfort zone on offense.

"They pressed up and played Brooklyn’s guards and wings extremely tight on the perimeter, forcing them to put them ball on the floor and drive the lane. This is not their strong suit, and it showed."

The Nets official website sees the key match-up as one between Crabbe and Tyler Johnson, because they believe Crabbe has the advantage.

“Among shooting guards, Johnson is ranked 75th in defensive plus-minus rating (-1.11), according to ESPN. Crabbe could use his edge in height (6-foot-6) and weight (215 lbs) against Johnson (6-foot-4, 190 lbs). The Nets guard has been tasked with driving more to the basket, this could be the game where he does it.”

Brooklyn won’t go down without a fight, even during their 128-113 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans they showed moxie.

“Brooklyn was down 33 points in the third quarter and it appeared as if the team would waive the white flag. Instead, Atkinson’s team didn’t quit, going on an incredible 19-0 run to finish the quarter.”

The Nets only two wins in their last 10 games were both against the Washington Wizards, and John Wall has his take on the reason for losing those winnable games.

“To John Wall, there’s a trend to the #Wizards losses:

"We talk about it. We say when we play these teams that are not above .500 or not one of the great teams, we go out there playing for stats. It's simple as that. We can see it. I think we all can see it when we play."