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GAME PREVIEW: Heat aim for positive end to road trip in Minnesota

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Miami ends their road trip with a game against Jimmy Butler’s old team.

NBA: Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

GAME STORY

The Miami Heat (28-27) seek a 2-2 split to end their West Coast road trip with a victory Friday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves (14-42). The teams face off tonight for the first time this season.

Minnesota is just 9-19 at home, but we’ve seen the Heat (13-14 on the road) struggle before against lowly teams this season. In fact, this road trip has served as a bit of a microcosm of Miami’s season so far with the team looking great at times as well as struggle mightily on both ends — oftentimes in the same game. For as good as they played against Portland, especially in the second half, they also failed to respond to the adjustments made by the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets after Miami enjoyed strong first quarter performances in both games.

Helping matters will be the expected return of Goran Dragic, who did not play in Denver due to load management as it was on the second night of a back-to-back set, but he has also not looked like his usual self as of late. A strong bounce back performance now that he’s rested would be huge for the Heat, both in his scoring but also primarily to organize and settle down the offense as there has been too many spot-up 3s early in the shot clock, to name one example, that haven’t exactly boosted the team’s offense. Jimmy Butler should also have plenty of motivation to beat his former team as well.

Minnesota is led by #1 overall pick Anthony Edwards, with Karl-Anthony Towns out for personal reasons, and they have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games. They have alternated a win with two straight losses since March 26 when they beat the Houston Rockets and then proceeded to lose the rematch against the Rockets and then the Brooklyn Nets. Spoiler alert: they are currently on a two-game losing streak having recently been blown out against the Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks at home.

ODDS: FiveThirtyEight gives the Heat a 60% chance to win the game.

HEAT VS TIMBERWOLVES: FRIDAY, APRIL 16 AT 8:00 PM

INJURIES

MIAMI:

  • Victor Oladipo: out (knee)
  • Andre Iguodala : questionable (hip)

MINNESOTA:

  • Malik Beasley: out (hamstring)
  • Karl-Anthony Towns: out (personal)

LINEUPS

Projected Starters

Bucks Position Heat
Bucks Position Heat
Jrue Holiday PG Goran Dragic
Bryn Forbes SG Duncan Robinson
Khris Middleton SF Jimmy Butler
Giannis Antetokounmpo PF Trevor Ariza
Brook Lopez C Bam Adebayo

BROADCAST INFO

TV: Bally Sports Sun, NBA League Pass
RADIO: The Ticket 790AM & The HEAT Radio Network (Mike Inglis, 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!