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HHH GameTime Preview: Heat Visit Brooklyn

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Okaro White is still batting 1.000 through his NBA career. Is 13 in a row out of the question?

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight at 7:30 PM ET, the Miami Heat will visit the Brooklyn Nets for a matchup at Barclay’s Center in New York. This is the third and final game between the two this season. Miami won the first two, both during their current win streak, 109-106 on January 25th and 104-96 on January 30th (more on that below).

Miami, winners of 12 straight (in case you didn’t know), are playing in the third game of a four-game road trip. They defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 115-113 on Monday and the Milwaukee Bucks, 106-88 on Wednesday (more on that below). The trip will conclude tomorrow night with a matchup against the 76ers in Philadelphia.

The Nets, losers of 11 straight games, 22 of their last 23, and 27 of their last 29, are playing in the second game of a four-game homestand. They started it out with a 114-110 overtime loss to the Washington Bullets Wizards on Wednesday (more on that below). After this game, they’ll host the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday and the Bucks on Wednesday.

The last time Miami faced Brooklyn, as stated above, was on January 30th. Goran Dragic led a balanced Heat attack with 20 points, eight assists, three rebounds and three steals. Dion Waiters had 19 with nine assists and six boards, James Johnson came off the pine for 17, five assists, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals, and Hassan Whiteside scored 12 with nine rebounds and three blocks. Bojan Bogdanovic had 16 with six boards for Brooklyn, while Brook Lopez scored 14 with three rebounds and three assists.

Stay humble. Stay hungry. Continue to keep working. Get better day by day. Keep putting in the work and you see results, and along the way have fun, just enjoy it. - Waiters

Miami’s last time out would see the Heat hand a 106-88 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Hassan Whiteside scored 23 with 16 rebounds, James Johnson had 20 off the bench with four helpers and four rebounds, Goran Dragic scored 16 with seven helpers and four rebounds, and Wayne Ellington scored 17, shooting five-for-eight from outside. Giannis Antetokounmpo was one of few bright spots for the Bucks, scoring 22 points with eight rebounds.

It's more about a group of players coming together to form an identity as a team and embrace each other, embrace a culture, embrace defending with a purpose. - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, pointedly “not” talking about the streak.

The Nets lost a four-point heartbreaker to the Washington Wizards in overtime on Wednesday in their last time on the court, 114-110. John Wall scored 23 with 12 assists and six rebounds, Bradley Beal scored 31 with six rebounds, Marcin Gortat had 14 with 14 rebounds, and Otto Porter scored 20 with 10 boards. Bojan Bogdanovic led Brooklyn with 21, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 13 with 11 rebounds, and Trevor Booker came off the bench for 14 and 11 for the Nets. Brook Lopez also pitched in with 20 points.

We were really right there. They're a very good team. They're playing as well as anyone in the league right now. To compete with them, push to overtime and be right there at the end is something to be said for us. - Lopez

GameTime: 7:30 PM ET at Barclay’s Center

Line: Miami has a 68.6% chance to win, by a projected score of 105-99, according to numberFire.com.

All-Time Heat-to-Head: Miami is 68-46 against Brooklyn, for a .596 win percentage. That’s better than everyone except the Sacramento Kings (.702), the Wizards (.670), the Toronto Raptors (49-27), and the Bucks (64-41).

Probable Starters

Miami:
PG - Goran Dragic
SG - Wayne Ellington
SF - Rodney McGruder
PF - Luke Babbitt
C - Hassan Whiteside

Brooklyn:
PG - Spencer Dinwiddie
SG - Randy Foye
SF - Bojan Bogdanovic
PF - Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
C - Brook Lopez

Standings

Miami: 23-30, .434, 8.5 games behind the division leading Wizards. On pace for 36-46. Fourth in the Southeast Division, 10th in the Eastern Conference, tied for 18th in the NBA (with the Portland Trail Blazers). Playoff Odds: 23.5%. Last Five: W-W-W-W-W.

Brooklyn: 9-44, .170, 24.5 games behind the division leading Boston Celtics. On pace for 14-68. Fifth in the Atlantic Division, 15th in the Eastern Conference, 30th in the NBA. Playoff Odds: 0.0%. Last Five: L-L-L-L-L.

Prognostication

How long can the Heat keep this up? Who can really say? It’s not ending tonight, though. Miami should handle these guys easily by 12 points. Still, it has all the earmarks of a trap game, so Miami has to stay in it and not dismiss the Nets just because they’re the “worst team in the NBA.” At least Brooklyn doesn’t have to deal with the Sacramento Kings’ ownership group. Vivek is a clown!