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HHH GameTime Preview: Nuggets Visit Miami

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The Denver Nuggets pay a visit to Miami.

NBA: Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight at 6:00 PM ET, the Denver Nuggets will play the Heat, at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. This will be the second of two contests this season between the two teams, with Miami claiming the first, 106-98 in Denver on November 30th.

In that game, Hassan Whiteside led Miami with 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting, with 16 rebounds and four blocked shots. Wayne Ellington pitched in with 22 points and four steals off the bench, and Tyler Johnson also scored 18 with seven assists. Danilo Galinari, Wilson Chandler, and Nikola Jokic each scored 17 in defeat.

I like this group. I like the toughness that they’re building. Road wins are gratifying because they’re tough. They’re tough anywhere you go. - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra

Miami’s finishing up a quick two-game homestand. They dropped the first one to the New York Knicks on Friday night (more below). After this matchup, they’ll go on their last regular season roadtrip of the season, with games against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, the Toronto Raptors on Friday, and the Washington Wizards on Saturday.

In Miami’s last game, on March 31st, they dropped a 98-94 home decision to the New York Knicks. New York was led by 22 points from Kristaps Porzingis and 20 from Courtney Lee. Goran Dragic led Miami with 22 points and five assists, Hassan Whiteside pitched in 17 with 16 boards, and Tyler Johnson scored 15 points in relief.

The 3-ball didn't go in tonight, we didn't defend and it didn't end up being a good formula for us. - Spoelstra

The Nuggets are in the third game of a five game roadtrip. They lost to the Portland Trail Blazers, 122-113 on Tuesday and to the Hornets, 122-114 on Friday. After this one, they’ll play the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday and the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

In Denver’s last game, their loss to the Hornets on Friday, Kemba Walker led the victors wtih 31 points and eight helpers. Frank Kaminsky scored 22, Nicolas Batum scored 13 with nine assists and five boards, and Jeremy Lamb scored 13 with five rebounds. Nikola Jokic scored 26 with 13 rebounds and 10 assists for the Nuggets for his sixth triple-double of the season. Gary Harris scored 20 with five rebounds, Danilo Galinari scored 19 with five rebounds, and Kenneth Faried scored 18 with 13 boards in defeat.

We missed 18 layups tonight, a bunch of those in that fourth quarter. Obviously they were getting run outs and Kaminsky and Marco were hot and they were getting it up quick before we could even get anywhere close to them. - Nuggets coach Mike Malone

GameTime: 6:00 PM EST, AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, Florida.

All-Time Head-to-Heat: Miami has a 32-to-27 advantage against the Nuggets in head-to-head play. Their .542 winning percentage is their 12th best against an NBA opponent.

numberFire.com says: Miami has a 71.6% chance to win this game, with a 218.5 over/under and a probable Five Stars outcome of Hassan Whiteside, Nikola Jokic, Goran Dragic, Wilson Chandler, and James Johnson.

Standings

Miami: 37-39, .487. On pace for a 40-42 season. Third in the Southeast Division, nine games behind the division winning Washington Wizards. In a three way tie for seventh in the Eastern Conference, with the Chicago Bulls and the Indiana Pacers, all 12 games behind the conference leading Boston Celtics. Tied for 15th in the NBA. Last Five: L-L-W-W-L. Playoff Odds: 61.0%.

Denver: 35-40, .467. On pace for a 38-44 season. Fourth in the Northwest Division, 11.5 games behind the division leading Utah Jazz. Ninth in the Western Conference, 2.5 games behind the eighth place Portland Trail Blazers. 18th in the NBA. Last Five: W-W-L-L-L. Playoff Odds: 3.4%.

Probable Starting Lineup (from www.rotowire.com)

Miami
PG - Goran Dragic
SG - Rodney McGruder
SF - Josh Richardson
PF - Luke Babbitt
C - Hassan Whiteside

Denver
PG - Jameer Nelson (GTD)
SG - Gary Harris
SF - Danilo Galinari
PF - Kenneth Faried
C - Nikola Jokic