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PREVIEW: Heat vs Nets game means a lot for both teams, but for different reasons

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Heat have lost two of three games against the Nets, in spite of Brooklyn’s solid lottery standing.

NBA: Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat (41-35) host the dangerous Brooklyn Nets (24-51), in the third of an important four game home stand, as a return to the playoffs looms in just two weeks,

Game Information

When: Saturday, March 31 at 8:00 p.m. ET

Where: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

TV: Fox Sports SUN, NBALP

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

Win probability: ESPN predictor has Miami as 72% favorites.

Probable Starters

HEAT: Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, James Johnson, Hassan Whiteside

NETS: D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, DeMarre Carroll, Jarrett Allen

Injury Report

HEAT: Dion Waiters (out, ankle), Tyler Johnson (probable, ankle)

NETS: Jeremy Lin (out, knee), Isaiah Whitehead (out, wrist)

Scouting Report

This game is their fourth and final meeting this season. as Miami won the first game, 101-89, in Mexico City, were convincingly defeated, 111-87, in the second meeting, and squandered a 16-point lead for a 101-95 loss in the third one.

The Heat are locked in a tight race for the #6-8 Eastern Conference playoff spots with Washington Wizards (41-34), who hold a one-game advantage in the loss column, and the Milwaukee Bucks (41-35), who have an identical record with the Heat.

The Heat hold the tiebreakers with both teams, in case Miami winds up with the same record as either one of them.

Currently the Nets are tied with the Chicago Bulls with the 8th most losses (51), two less than a top-4 lottery seed (53).

As the season winds down Brooklyn could either go for better lottery chances (loses) or showcase their present talent for off-season trades (wins).

Earlier the Nets gave the Heat trouble with a similar profile of evenly distributed talent and counting on winning with a physically aggressive style of play, but in this game the return of D’Angelo Russell and blossoming of Jarrett Allen can spell unexpected problems for Miami.

Jarrett Allen and ‘DLo’ pick-and-roll and passing mastery

“He [Russell] really manipulated the pick and roll to his advantage,” said Nets coach Kenny Atkinson. “He knows how to get angles. He’s not a downhill, speedy player, but he knows how to get an angle. He knows when someone bites, either on the perimeter or on the roll. He just has elite vision. I thought he was really good tonight, shot selection.”

“In the last seven games, the Nets have an offensive rating of 113.2, fourth in the NBA, well above their season-long rating of 104.4.”

“Over the last seven games the Nets are shooting 40.7 percent from 3-point range, with Joe Harris (53.6), Caris LeVert (45.8), Allen Crabbe (44.1), and DeMarre Carroll (43.9) all shooting over 40 percent.”