Brooklyn Nets at Miami HEAT Game Preview
Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
The Miami HEAT host the Brooklyn Nets Saturday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Get your tickets now! The HEAT fell to the Nets 101-95 in their last meeting on Jan. 19. Tip-off is set for 8:00 PM. Television coverage on FOX Sports Sun begins at 7:30 PM. You can also listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.
1: What did we learn from Miami’s home victory over Chicago on Thursday?
Couper Moorhead: Nothing too much, which is as it should be this time of year. Every team is playing for something a little different in the last weeks of the season, and as the Bulls are out of the playoffs they’re emphasizing the development of their young players while the HEAT are still going all out in search of an advantageous playoff seed. So, the HEAT were the team that should have won, and they did in a rather business-like manner, executing everything they need to execute despite a poor shooting evening. That’s all there was to Thursday’s proceedings, and that’s all there needed to be.
Joe Beguiristain: As Coup mentioned above, we didn’t learn too much from the HEAT’s double-digit victory over the Bulls on Thursday. If anything, we saw Miami continue to take care of business against a team that it was supposed to beat. While the HEAT had a little bit of trouble against non-playoff teams earlier in the season, it seems as though their loss to the Kings on March 14 galvanized them.
Other than that though, it was really fun to see Justise Winslow do his thing against Chicago. Whether he was attacking the basket, setting up his teammates or defending multiple guys, Winslow had a great deal of success. That kind of versatility will be very important come playoff time.
2: What have the previous games against Brooklyn taught us about this matchup?
Couper: As far as the non-playoff teams go, the Nets have been one of the trickier matchups of the season having beaten Miami twice since the HEAT prevailed in the Mexico City game. The Nets play fast and they get up a ton of threes which is usually a pretty solid recipe for beating teams with a better record than you, but beyond that they also have a deep rotation full of capable players, they have length which allows them to crowd passing lanes and switch perimeter actions when they want to and, most importantly, they play hard every single game. This is not a team anyone can afford to take lightly or Brooklyn will jump all over you as they did taking a 38-point lead in Miami back at the end of December.
And remember, D’Angelo Russell is healthy and back in the rotation and this team owes its draft pick to Cleveland so they’re playing a full rotation whenever possible.
Joe: Above all else, the previous matchups with the Nets have taught us to never judge a team solely by its record. Sure, Brooklyn has struggled to win games this season, but it can really light up the scoreboard. In fact, the Nets have scored 111.4 points per 100 possessions over their past 10 games, which ranks them in the top third of the league during that span.
While D’Angelo Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and DeMarre Carroll have obviously led the way for Brooklyn, you can’t forget about Joe Harris off the bench. In the two most recent meetings with Miami, the 26-year-old Harris really gave the HEAT fits with his ability to stretch the floor and knock down the three.
Speaking of which, it’s important to note that the Nets are also capable of winning when they’re not hitting their shots from beyond the arc. In Brooklyn’s last meeting with Miami on Jan. 19, it shot just 9-of-32 from deep (28.1 percent) and still won by six.
3: Is there anything the HEAT should be focused on from now until the end of the regular season?
Couper: Staying healthy is probably the most important one, but approaching their upcoming games against non-playoff teams with a consistent effort and focus should be the main thing you’re looking for. The HEAT aren’t going to unveil any dramatic new strategies in the run-up to the postseason – they can clinch their spot Saturday night with a win or a Detroit loss – so these next couple weeks are about taking a professional approach to each game, winning every game you can and letting the matchups sort themselves out from there. There’s still a little bit we can learn about how Erik Spoelstra plans to approach the postseason given how rare a fully healthy squad has been this season, but that’s another aspect that will be incredibly matchup dependent when it comes down to it.
Joe: With just six games left in the regular season, it’s important for the HEAT to keep up their good habits and hone in on what works. That means sharpening their dribble handoffs, continuing to move the ball and sticking to their defensive principles.
Winslow put it best after Miami’s victory over the Bulls:
“These games are important to us. Just continue to build those habits everyday and try to be at the top of our game come playoffs.”
- The HEAT have won five of seven and are 41-35.
- The Nets have dropped three of four and enter the contest at 24-51.
- Miami has won eight straight at home.
- D’Angelo Russell leads Brooklyn in scoring at 16.0 points per game.
- HEAT Offense: 104.7 (19)
- HEAT Defense: 104.1 (8)
- Nets Offense: 104.4 (20)
- Nets Defense: 108.9 (25)