With both teams missing so many regular players today, or their playing status is still up in the air, it’s almost pointless to analyze the upcoming game in any reasonable manner with shifting lineups and new players being signed as replacements. So let’s recap the latest Heat roster news instead:
Kyle Lowry will miss his third game of the season now that he entered the league’s health and safety protocols yesterday. He will be away from the team for at least 10 days, which would mean he’ll be out six or so games. Gabe Vincent will likely start in his place.
Thankfully the Heat will have Caleb Martin back, as he was cleared to return to the team yesterday after missing seven games, and the team upgraded the status of Jimmy Butler and PJ Tucker to questionable. Butler has been out for 12 of the last 13 games with a bruised tailbone while Tucker has missed the last two games with left leg inflammation.
Zylan Cheatham, signed to an emergency 10-day contract while Martin was away, can stay with the team to replace Lowry — or the Heat can choose to release Cheatham (his original contract expires on the 31st) to sign another player. Because Martin is a two-way player, the Heat had to sign a similar eligible player to replace him, but with Lowry they are free to sign any player with NBA experience such as (ahem) Mario Chalmers or Michael Beasley.
Orlando’s latest injury report is something to behold, with so many players out that there is little doubt the Magic will be forced to field a team that is more similar to a G-League team. Starting guard Cole Anthony is now being listed as questionable while several of his teammates will be out either because of injuries or the league’s health and safety protocols.
This is the third matchup of the season between the two in-state rivals. The Heat have won both games played so far, including a 115-105 decision in their last meeting eight days ago. Max Strus led the Heat with 32 points while Franz Wagner led the Magic with 27 points.
ODDS: FiveThirtyEight gives the Heat a 79% chance to win the game.
HEAT VS MAGIC: SUNDAY, DECEMBER 26 AT 3:30 PM.
- Victor Oladipo: out (knee; surgery rehab)
- Markieff Morris: out (whiplash)
- Dewayne Dedmon: out (knee)
- Bam Adebayo: out (thumb surgery recovery)
- Jimmy Butler: questionable (tailbone)
- Kyle Lowry: out (health and safety protocols)
- PJ Tucker: questionable (leg)
- Jalen Suggs: out (thumb)
- Cole Anthony: questionable (right ankle)
- Jonathan Isaac: out (knee)
- E’Twaun Moore: out (knee)
- Michael Carter-Williams: out (left ankle)
- Moritz Wagner: out (health and safety protocols)
- Mychal Mulder: out (health and safety protocols)
- Ignas Brazdeikis: out (health and safety protocols)
- Chuma Okeke: out (health and safety protocols)
- BJ Johnson: out (health and safety protocols)
- Terrence Ross: out (health and safety protocols)
- Markelle Fultz: out (knee)
- Mo Bamba: out (health and safety protocols)
|Bradley Beal||PG||Kyle Lowry|
|Kyle Kuzma||SG||Max Strus|
|Corey Kispert||SF||Caleb Martin|
|Deni Avdija||PF||Nikola Jovic|
|Kristaps Porzingis||C||Bam Adebayo|
TV: Bally Sports Sun, NBA League Pass
RADIO: The Ticket 790AM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson, Ruth Riley Hunter)
SPANISH RADIO: WAQI 710AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda, Joe Pujala)
Come back to Hot Hot Hoops at game time to join our GameThread and chat about the game live with other Heat fans!