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GAME PREVIEW: Heat matchup with Durant, Nets in another East battle

The Miami Heat will be the first team to see Kevin Durant since his January 15th injury when the Heat and Nets matchup on Thursday.

Miami Heat v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Jim McIsaac/2021 Jim McIsaac

GAME STORY

The Miami Heat (41-22) will be the first team to see Kevin Durant since January 15 when he makes his return for the Brooklyn Nets (32-31) on Thursday night.

Kevin Durant had the Nets in first place in the East at the end of 2021. But then things began to unravel as Kyrie Irving continued to miss games, James Harden became discontent and Durant suffered an MCL injury. Now, the Nets find themselves in play-in spot as the 8th seed with 19 games remaining.

The return of Kevin Durant changes the optimism and narrative for them, even for this game. His teammates said he “looks really good” and is ready to play. Returning from injury and having to see PJ Tucker and Bam Adebayo = not ideal. The Heat do match up well with the Nets and will be able to play their switching defense without too many problems.

Miami, though, is on the back-side of a road back-to-back after their game in Milwaukee on Wednesday night where the Heat surrendered a 14 point fourth-quarter lead and lost 120-119.

Although Miami will be focused on Kevin Durant, they also need to pay close attention to Seth Curry who is capable of carving them up as a shifty and crafty guard — especially without Kyle Lowry available. This is a game the Heat need to win, with Brooklyn short-handed — if they play their game and are reasonable from deep, they have a good chance.

This game was originally on national TV but was pulled in favor of Memphis-Boston.

The ODDS for the game have the Heat at -3 on the spread.

Eastern Conference Finals Schedule

GAME DATE MATCHUP TIME TV
GAME DATE MATCHUP TIME TV
Game 1 Tuesday, May 17 Boston @ Miami 8:30 p.m. ET ESPN
Game 2 Thursday, May 19 Boston @ Miami 8:30 p.m. ET ESPN
Game 3 Saturday, May 21 Miami @ Boston 8:30 p.m. ET ABC
Game 4 Monday, May 23 Miami @ Boston 8:30 p.m. ET ABC
Game 5* Wednesday, May 25 Boston @ Miami 8:30 p.m. ET ESPN
Game 6* Friday, May 27 Miami @ Boston 8:30 p.m. ET ESPN
Game 7* Sunday, May 29 Boston @ Miami 8:30 p.m. ET ESPN
Game Details

INACTIVE/INJURIES

MIAMI:

  • Victor Oladipo: out (knee surgery recovery)
  • Markieff Morris: out (neck)
  • Kyle Lowry: out (personal reasons)
  • Javonte Smart: out (two-way)
  • Caleb Martin: questionable (achilles)

BROOKLYN:

  • Kyrie Irving: out (ineligible)
  • Ben Simmons: out (back)
  • Joe Harris: out (surgery rehab)
  • Andre Drummond: probable (knee)

LINEUPS

Projected Starters

Celtics Position Heat
Celtics Position Heat
Marcus Smart PG Kyle Lowry
Derrick White SG Tyler Herro
Jaylen Brown SF Max Strus
Jayson Tatum PF Caleb Martin
Al Horford 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)

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