The injury-addled Heat will host the Sacramento Kings tonight at 8PM.
It marks the return to Miami Arena of former shot-blocking standout Hassan Whiteside. In his first return to Miami, last January 5 with the Portland Trail Blazers, Whiteside scored 21 with 18 rebounds in a 122-111 Heat victory. He led the NBA for the second time in his career with 2.9 blocks per game (he had 3.7 BPG in 2015-16 for Miami).
The Heat are still struggling to fill the starting lineup and playing rotation. Avery Bradley (knee), Jimmy Butler (health and safety), Maurice Harkless (thigh), Tyler Herro (neck), Andre Igoudala (neck), and Gabe Vincent (knee) are all listed as day-to-day. Goran Dragić (groin) is straight up out, as are front courters Meyers Leonard (shoulder) and Chris Silva (hip).
That leaves the Heat with eight non-injury plagued players, including Udonis Haslem. Kendrick Nunn, Max Strus, Duncan Robinson, KZ Okpala, Precious Achiuwa, Bam Adebayo, and Kelly Olynyk are the other seven. Is today the day that 40-year-old UD finally gets into a game? I certainly hope so.
But still, the Heat have now dropped five games in a row, and with the injured outnumbering the healthy, it doesn’t seem like help is on the way.
In a perfect world, we’d like to be in a better place than we’re in right now, but we’re not. We just have to continue to grind. - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra
The Kings, meanwhile hold a .349 lifetime winning percentage against the Heat — the second worst winning percentage of any club when playing Miami. The Washington Wizards are the worst, with a 42-88 lifetime record. But Sacramento’s injury report, unlike Miami’s, reads like a footnote compared to a medical journal.
Can the Heat get back on track? The Kings, at 8-10, rank 11th in the Western Conference. Despite Miami’s injury struggles, they’re favored by minus-5 1⁄2 with an over-under of 225. I’d take the Kings against the spread, the Heat straight up, and a sizable under, but I’m not a betting man. Watch the game on Fox Sports Sun or NBC SCA.