While any game at this late point in the season is important for playoff positioning, tonight’s biggest storyline will be the expected return of Victor Oladipo who hasn’t played since April 8, 2021 and will face his former team that traded him to Miami last year. He has missed 89 games since, so he won’t be playing big minutes right away of course — but there’s an opening there for some quality time on the court alongside reserves Tyler Herro, Caleb Martin and Max Strus.
After a stellar stretch of play to go 3-1 against the best teams in the Eastern Conference, the danger here is that this could be a trap game if the Heat play down to their opponent after so much fierce competition last week. Exhibit A is the fact that the Rockets just snapped their 12-game losing streak against the Memphis Grizzlies in their last game, which still leaves a 27-game gap between the two teams at the top and the bottom of the Southwest Division. Kevin Porter Jr. scored 29 points and Christian Wood added 28 points and 13 rebounds for their second victory in their last 18 games, but did they catch the Grizzlies flat-footed or did it represent the start of a late-season turnaround?
Keep an eye out for tonight’s key matchup between Bam Adebayo and Christian Wood. Bam was quiet offensively while trying to limit Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid on Saturday, but he has been steadily ramping up his aggressiveness as of late. Wood meanwhile has scored 20 or more points in his last three games, including a 24-point performance against the Utah Jazz last Wednesday that featured a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to force overtime. He has shot 50% from deep this month, so Adebayo will need to adjust accordingly if Wood stays hot from afar.
Miami has upgraded Lowry, who was out for personal reasons, to questionable while Caleb Martin (Achilles soreness) is listed as questionable. Houston has guard Dennis Schroder listed as out with an ankle injury.
The ODDS for the game currently have the Heat at -15 (-110) on the spread. The over/under for the game is sitting at 224.5.
Second Round Schedule
- Victor Oladipo: questionable (knee surgery recovery)
- Markieff Morris: out (neck)
- Kyle Lowry: questionable (personal reasons)
- Javonte Smart: out (two-way)
- Caleb Martin: questionable (Achilles soreness)
- Dennis Schroder: out (ankle)
|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|
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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