I think we can all agree this is a must-win because sitting on a two-game losing streak and relinquishing the East lead with an entire week off seems unbearable. But the Heat will have to do it without Tyler Herro, a 20 PPG scorer who is being held out with precaution for his knee.
The Hornets have lost 8 of their last 9 games, including a 104-86 defeat to the Heat on February 5. In that game, the Heat used a 35-8 third quarter to create separation from the Hornets. And Charlotte hasn’t been the same. They’ve dropped below .500 and are also desperate to get back on track.
Miami will need some extra contributions from Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and Duncan Robinson in this game. The Hornets will be boosted by Kelly Oubre Jr. off the bench and Miami will need some type of second unit spurt to keep this from becoming a dog fight. Without Dedmon, we will see more Omer Yurtseven, who is doing well offensively but can become a PnR liability if LaMelo Ball wants to do so.
Charlotte is the second highest-scoring team in the NBA and a top-3 team in ball movement. The Heat’s defense will be on a test.
If the Heat can avoid a terrible 3-point shooting half as they did against Dallas, they should be in good shape even with the players available.
ODDS: FiveThirtyEight gives the Heat a 57% chance to win the game.
HEAT VS HORNETS: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17 AT 7:00 PM
- Victor Oladipo: out (knee; surgery rehab)
- Tyler Herro: out (knee contusion)
- Caleb Martin: questionable (achillies)
- Markieff Morris: out (neck)
- Jimmy Butler: questionable (shoulder strain)
- Dewayne Dedmon: out (personal reasons)
- Udonis Haslem: questionable (eye poke)
- Gordon Hayward: out (ankle)
- Cody Martin: out (ankle)
- Jalen McDaniels: out (ankle)
|Marcus Smart||PG||Kyle Lowry|
|Jaylen Brown||SG||Max Strus|
|Jayson Tatum||SF||Jimmy Butler|
|Al Horford||PF||PJ Tucker|
|Robert Williams III||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!