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GAME PREVIEW: Heat return home to host floundering Nets

Brooklyn has lost 10 straight while Miami is on a four-game win streak.

NBA: Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

GAME STORY

The Miami Heat (36-20) return home after a six-game road trip with a four-game win streak and a date at the FTX Arena with the Brooklyn Nets (29-26) tonight at 8:00pm.

While Miami has slowly been getting back to full strength, even with Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin currently listed as questionable, Brooklyn not only has several key players out due to injury such as Kevin Durant and Joe Harris but they may not be able to incorporate their newly acquired players at the NBA trade deadline in time for tonight. Ben Simmons is not ready for NBA action just yet while Seth Curry and Andre Drummond are listed as day to day.

At least they have part-time NBA player Kyrie Irving tonight, who presumably continues to do his own scientific research on the COVID vaccine while the rest of the team plays every game. The combination of Irving’s unwillingness to get a shot in the arm coupled with major injuries and a petulant former MVP who needed to move on from Brooklyn after one year has turned a season with championship aspirations into the present nightmare that is best represented by their current 10-game losing streak.

In stark contrast, the Heat have the look of a cohesive team all on the same page while looking to extend their lead atop the Eastern Conference standings. Both the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers won last night, but remain a game behind Miami.

This is the second matchup between the two teams this season, with the Heat winners 106-93 on Oct. 27 in Brooklyn. Bam Adebayo led the Heat with 24 points while Kevin Durant scored 25 points for the Nets. Perhaps due to Irving’s schedule, the Nets actually have a superior road record (17-12) than at home (12-14). After recently completing their longest road trip of the season, Miami’s 18-6 home record will get a boost with 17 of their last 26 games to be played at the FTX Arena.

As the last All-Star standing for the Nets, tonight’s key matchup is Kyrie Irving versus Kyle Lowry in what shapes to be an intriguing point guard matchup on both ends of the court. Irving led the Nets with 31 points, five rebounds and six assists in their last game, a one-point loss to the Washington Wizards. Lowry and the Heat must control his aggressive drives to the rim, as evidenced by his 10-11 performance from the charity stripe against the Wiz. With two more games to be played between both teams this season, the Nets will look drastically different by then should both Ben Simmons and Kevin Durant are active. For tonight, the Heat’s defense can take advantage of their unavailability and zero in on just Irving.

ODDS: FiveThirtyEight gives the Heat a 81% chance to win the game.

HEAT VS NETS: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 12 AT 8:00 PM

INACTIVE/INJURIES

MIAMI:

  • Victor Oladipo: out (knee; surgery rehab)
  • Tyler Herro: questionable (knee)
  • Caleb Martin: questionable (achillies)
  • Markieff Morris: out (conditioning)

NETS:

  • Nic Claxton: out (hamstring)
  • Ben Simmons: out (back)
  • Joe Harris: out (ankle)
  • Kevin Durant: out (knee)
  • LaMarcus Aldridge: out (ankle)
  • Andre Drummond: day to day
  • Seth Curry: day to day

LINEUPS

Projected Starters

76ers Position Heat
76ers Position Heat
Tyrese Maxey PG Gabe Vincent
James Harden SG Max Strus
Danny Green SF Jimmy Butler
Tobias Harris PF PJ Tucker
Joel Embiid C Bam Adebayo

BROADCAST INFO

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!