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GAME PREVIEW: Heat visit Hornets with eyes on top seed in the East

A win tonight could mean Erik Spoelstra would coach the East All-Star team.

Miami Heat v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images


The Miami Heat (33-20) continue their road trip with tonight’s game against the Charlotte Hornets (28-25).

Currently just a half game behind the Bulls, Miami has Kyle Lowry back and should have the same complete starting lineup they featured against the San Antonio Spurs, though Jimmy Butler is listed as probable with a toe injury and PJ Tucker is questionable with a knee issue. Lowry is still working his way into NBA shape after just one game back from a lengthy absence from the team and may not play his usual amount of minutes. Caleb Martin, a valuable reserve, is also listed as questionable with an achilles injury. Omer Yurtseven is out of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, making Chris Silva ineligible to play tonight.

Jalen McDaniel (ankle) is the lone Hornets player to make an appearance on their injury list for today.

The two division rivals meet for the second time this season, with the Heat winning the first matchup 114-99 on Oct. 29 led by Butler with 32 points. Miami has gone 8-2 this season against opponents from the Southeast Division while Charlotte is 5-5.

The Hornets have lost three games in a row, including a close 102-101 defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers last night that would have helped the Heat in the standings had they won. Terry Rozier scored 24 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. contributed 21 for Charlotte — who have lost five of their last seven games after a promising stretch in which they had won seven out of eight games.

Tonight’s key matchup will be Gordon Hayward, who returned last night to action after being placed in the league’s health and safety protocols, against Jimmy Butler. Hayward’s extended absence (and subsequent seven-point performance again the Cavaliers) has coincided with their recent slump, but he was playing well just before he was forced to take his leave of absence so a bounce back game from the former All-Star would make the Hornets that much more of a dangerous team.

ODDS: FiveThirtyEight gives the Heat a 58% chance to win the game.




  • Victor Oladipo: out (knee; surgery rehab)
  • Max Strus: day-to-day (quad)
  • KZ Okpala: out (wrist)
  • Markieff Morris: out (conditoning)
  • Caleb Martin: day to day/questionable (left achilles soreness)
  • Jimmy Butler: day to day/probable (left big toe irritation)
  • PJ Tucker: day to day/questionable (left knee irritation)
  • Chris Silva: ineligible


  • Jalen McDaniels: out (ankle)


Projected Starters

Celtics Position Heat
Celtics Position Heat
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!