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Heat will have a very important game Friday night when they host the Clippers

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There’s only a few teams in the NBA that can be used as a measuring stick for contending and this is one of them.

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Sacramento Kings v Miami Heat Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks, the L.A. Lakers, and the L.A. Clippers.

That’s the list.

If you want to measure whether you are on the level of a championship contender, those are the games that you are circling to find out.

The Heat have already beat the Milwaukee Bucks, but that was the third game of the season, and they didn’t even have Jimmy Butler.

Miami lost both its games to the Lakers, one was a blowout and the other was a very close home loss (the Heat’s only of the season).

Now, they Miami Heat will welcome the L.A. Clippers to “AmericanAirlines Arena” this Friday night to have another opportunity to measure whether they are on that level or not. The Heat are 30-13, same record as the Clippers which is good for 3rd in the NBA, behind the Bucks and Lakers. This matchup might help us better understand how the Heat stack up against a talented team.

Obviously the Clippers have 2019 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, and his partner Paul George. George has dealing with a hamstring issue and his status is unclear. Regardless, the Clippers are a game that we look to and see if they matchup.

Luckily, this one is in Miami. It’s an 8:00 EST game on ESPN — and if you want to be there for it, you should get tickets now.

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Here’s three intriguing matchups...

#1 Jimmy Butler vs Kawhi Leonard
We all know that Kawhi is on a different level when he’s healthy and playing. But Jimmy seems to relish playing against superior talent and guarding them. Two very smart players who love defense...it should be a great matchup.

#2 Pat Beverly vs Kendrick Nunn
Did you ever think you would see that as a matchup to watch? But Pat Bev has created himself a reputation as a defensive pest...but I am one to think that Kendrick Nunn isn’t going to go for that stuff, and I think he may rise to the occasion. I am real curious to see how well Nunn can play with Beverly guarding him.

#3 Lou Williams vs Goran Dragic
I’m not sure how much guarding each other these two will do, but both of them are the engines of the second unit. Williams averages 20 PPG and 6.2 APG off the bench. Compare that to Dragic’s 15.5 PPG and 4.9 APG — and you can see how important these two are to the success of their team. We will see them carry their units while the “bigger” stars get a rest and it should be good to watch.

This is a game you will want to be at...or at the very least be tuning in on ESPN or locally with Fox Sports.

Not looking past the Washington Wizards...but this is a circled game for sure.