The Miami Heat (13-5) hit the road to start the month of December as they travel to the Barclays Center to take on the Brooklyn Nets (10-9). Having had an excellent month in November, the Heat will be looking to take advantage of a very stretched and injury-riddled Nets team and get off to the perfect start to the festive month (too early?, I think not).
Miami comes into this matchup off the back of a big 122-105 win over the now not so good Golden State Warriors, led by Goran Dragic’s team-high 20 points from the bench. However, the Nets will provide a much different test for Erik Spoelstra’s team.
Brooklyn hasn't got off to the start that many had predicted at the start of the year but having won four of their last five outings including a 112-107 over the Boston Celtics, they have finally dragged themselves back into a winning record of 10-9.
Keys to the game:
Bench Production - During the Heat’s win over the Warriors, the Miami bench were outstanding — scoring a season-high 70 points. The bench is currently averaging the league’s third best 45.4 points per game, and should the Heat claim a big win in Brooklyn today then the rotation will have to continue this excellent scoring form.
Tyler Herro (15.7 ppg) and Goran Dragic (15.6) have been the go to guys when it comes to leading the way in the Heat’s secondary, which was also a huge part of the reason the Heat extended their unbeaten run at home last time out. As mentioned, Dragic led the way in scoring against Golden State but Herro was not far behind him as he finished the game with 19 points from 7-of-11 shooting (63.6%).
Tyler was also hot from behind the arc as he drained 5 of his 6 attempts from three for 83.3%.
Defensive effort - The Miami defense ranks among the best in the NBA, ranking second in three-point field goal percentage allowed (.314), second in steals per game (9.28), second in field goals allowed (673), second in opponent rebounds per game (40.0), third in forced turnovers per game (17.0), fourth in total steals (167), fifth in total points allowed (1,891), sixth in opponent plus/minus (-116) and seventh in defensive rating (103.3).
The Heat’s defensive efforts, as the stats show, it has been flawless this season, so if the Heat is to deal the Nets just their third loss in their last eight games then the defense has to continue to roll.
- Kendrick Nunn
- Duncan Robinson
- Jimmy Butler
- Bam Adebayo
- Meyers Leonard
- Spencer Dinwiddie
- Garrett Temple
- Joe Harris
- Taurean Prince
- Jarrett Allen
Derrick Jones Jr. (Left Hip Strain) - Probable; KZ Okpala (Left Achilles) - Out; Daryl Macon (G-League) - Out.
Nicholas Claxton (Left Hamstring) - Probable; Kyrie Irving (Right Shoulder) - Out; Kevin Durant (Right Achilles) - Out; Wilson Chandler (Suspension) - Out; Henry Ellenson (G-League) - Out; Rodions Kurucs (G-League) - Out; Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (G-League) - Out.
TV: FOX Sports Sun (Eric Reid, John Crotty, Jason Jackson)
Radio: The Ticket 790AM & The HEAT Radio Network (Mike Inglis)
Spanish Radio: WAQI 710AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)