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PREVIEW: Heat, T-Wolves both battle for playoff positioning

Victor Oladipo will not play on the second night of a back-to-back

NBA: Miami Heat at Minnesota Timberwolves Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Both the Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves come into tonight’s game at FTX Arena on the second night of a back-to-back. And both teams are coming into the game with playoff positioning at stake as the regular season winds down.

The visiting Timberwolves had won six consecutive games before losing last night to the last-place Orlando Magic, a team that is already eliminated from playoff contention. (The last time these two teams met in November 2021, Minnesota defeated Miami to go on a five-game winning streak, their first such streak since Jimmy Butler played for the T-Wolves.)

And Minnesota is currently just two-and-a-half games behind the Denver Nuggets for the sixth seed in the West, the last guaranteed playoff spot. The T-Wolves would otherwise have to win a play-in game to make the playoffs. And aside from Butler’s year with Minnesota in 2017-18, the T-Wolves last made the playoffs in 2004.

As for the Heat, they secured a bounce-back win over the Cleveland Cavaliers last night thanks to big performances from Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. Miami now holds a two-and-a-half game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks for the top seed in the East. Winning tonight would maintain distance over the Bucks, who have won six straight games themselves. (Milwaukee also plays Golden State tonight.)

Victor Oladipo will not play tomorrow on the second night of a back-to-back. Tim Reynolds reported that Markieff Morris is on the brink of returning last night.

ODDS:

  • Heat -6
  • O/U: 226
  • Money line: Heat -240, Timberwolves +195

INACTIVE/INJURIES

MIAMI:

  • Caleb Martin (hyperextended knee) - QUESTIONABLE
  • Victor Oladipo (injury recovery) — OUT
  • Kyle Guy (two way) - OUT
  • Javonte Smart (two way) - OUT
  • Markieff Morris (reconditioning) - OUT

MINNESOTA:

  • McKinley Wright IV (two-way) - OUT
  • Jared Vanderbilt (left quad contusion) - QUESTIONABLE
  • Taurean Prince (back spasms) - QUESTIONABLE
  • Jordan McLaughlin (right groin tightness) - QUESTIONABLE
  • Anthony Edwards (left patella tendon) - QUESTIONABLE

STARTING LINEUPS:

Miami Heat:

PG: Kyle Lowry

SG: Duncan Robinson

SF: Jimmy Butler

PF: P.J. Tucker

C: Bam Adebayo

Minnesota Timberwolves:

PG: Patrick Beverley

SG: D’Angelo Russell

SF: Anthony Edwards

PF: Jared Vanderbilt

C: Karl-Anthony Towns

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)

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