HEAT Host Rockets In Preseason Finale

Jimmy Butler
Photo Credit: David Alvarez
by Joe Beguiristain

Although things are about to get real for the HEAT very soon, they still have some unfinished business on the docket.

That, of course, would be Friday night’s preseason finale against the Rockets at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Before we get into Houston, though, let’s quickly recap Miami’s victory in Orlando on Thursday.

Jimmy Butler did that whole Jimmy Buckets thing and led the HEAT with a game-high 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting. And the best part was he did damage both on and off the ball.

But you know who was on the ball quite a lot?

Justise Winslow, who looked absolutely fantastic as the team’s primary ball handler. So fantastic that he ended the night with a game-high 12 assists that would have been a career high had it occurred during the regular season.

If Winslow plays, it’ll be interesting to see how he follows that up against the Rockets.

Speaking of which, Houston enters the contest at 3-2 and owns one of the best offensive ratings in the league at 110.1. Naturally, having James Harden on your side will do that.

The seven-time All-Star nearly messed around and got a triple-double his last time out against the Spurs on Wednesday, as he amassed 40 points on 13-of-27 shooting, including 7-of-16 from deep, 10 boards and seven assists. Thanks to that, he’s averaging team highs with 28.6 points and 9.4 assists per game on 46.5 percent shooting. So, yeah, he’s ready for the regular season.

And while Harden and Russell Westbrook will get all the headlines (and rightfully so), don’t sleep on Chris Clemons.

The 5-foot-9 rookie guard out of Campbell has worked his way onto the roster after balling out in Summer League with the Rockets. Thus far in the preseason, the sharpshooter ranks third on the squad with 13.2 points and 2.6 assists per game.

INJURY REPORT: KZ Okpala (Sick), Udonis Haslem (Sprained Left Wrist) and James Johnson (Conditioning) are out for Miami. Michael Frazier (Right Ankle Sprain), Gerald Green (Left Foot Injury), Nenê (Adductor) and Ray Spalding (Left Calf Strain) are out for Houston.

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