Miami HEAT vs. Philadelphia 76ers Game Preview
Photo Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler
The Miami HEAT face the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night at Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO. The game is presented by Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida. The HEAT defeated the 76ers 125-98 in their last meeting on March 1. Tip-off is set for 8:30 PM. There will be no television coverage, but you can listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.
1: What was your main takeaway from the win over Washington?
Couper Moorhead: With Goran Dragić, Dion Waiters and Hassan Whiteside all sitting out this was a nice showcase game for the team’s younger players. Most of Bam Adebayo’s 15 points came by simply making himself available for passes around the paint – he did have a nice post-up – but don’t discount that as other players doing all the work for him. It’s not easy learning where the spaces are and will be at the speed of the pro game and even though this was preseason we can at the very least take it as a hint that Adebayo might have a knack for this sort of thing.
It was also a very fine evening for Justise Winslow, who set up Adebayo on a number of the aforementioned scores. Winslow’s playmaking has always been a strength but this season he appears to have tightened up his handle to the point that he’s breaking down defenses in the pick-and-roll better than ever.
And it must be said that Matt Williams Jr. is a pure shooter.
Joe Beguiristain: The young guys can flat out ball. While it was fun to see the Brothers Johnson take over in the third quarter, the night belonged to Jordan Mickey, Bam Adebayo, Matt Williams Jr. and Derrick Walton Jr. Each one of those guys had their moments, with Mickey sealing the deal with a game-winning three. After the clutch shot, the whole bench mobbed the 23-year-old, which showed just how close the squad is.
It also must be noted that Adebayo had his best outing of the preseason, as he wreaked havoc on both ends of the floor. Although his pick-and-roll dunks were fun, his improvement on shots from the block was more encouraging. On the flip side of the ball, he showed quick feet on switches and also played stout interior defense. We’ll see how the rookie follows that up on Friday against the 76ers.
2: With just one game left in preseason, what is left to accomplish?
Couper: Erik Spoelstra said that Dragić likely will sit out again, while Waiters and Whiteside could get some run. Usually once you get to the back end of preseason its more about continuing to let the younger guys get some minutes and take a couple more quick looks at lineups that maybe haven’t been tried as much before. In a sense, it’s much like Wednesday’s game was. Some coaches will do a dress rehearsal in the last game, at least in the first half, but without Dragić that won’t be possible.
Joe: I believe the most important thing is to keep everybody healthy heading into the regular season. That seems to be the approach with Goran Dragić, as he’s officially out due to rest. That said, there are also a few guys out due to injury, including Okaro White (strained left shoulder) and Rodney McGruder (left tibia stress fracture).
Long story short, there’s a good chance the young guys get some significant burn once more against Philadelphia. And with cut/send down day rapidly approaching, there’s no better time to see what you have than right now.
3: What do you expect to happen in the next few days until the road opener in Orlando?
Couper: This is always the tough part of preseason, when rosters need to be cut down before the real thing begins. But the HEAT run things a little differently as they have the Sioux Falls Skyforce coaching staff in Miami during this time of year helping at training camp, practices and games. Spoelstra has referred to this camp as a no-cut camp in the sense that most of the players will wind up with the Skyforce, so this way they’ll have spent weeks with their future coaching staff. So cuts will be made because that’s how official paperwork works, but those players won’t be leaving Miami’s system.
After that, the team will have three days of practice and then we’re off.
Joe: Other than trimming down their roster, I expect the HEAT to continue to work in preparation for the grind that is the 82-game season. Luckily enough, Miami has a few days between its first game against the Magic and its home opener against the Pacers on Saturday, Oct. 21.
With guys like Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson carrying over their sharp play from a year ago and newcomer Kelly Olynyk making a seamless transition, the HEAT should be ready to rock when the regular season begins.
- The HEAT are 3-2 in the preseason, while the 76ers enter the contest at 1-3.
- Four players are averaging 10.0 points per game or more for Miami in the preseason.
- Rodney McGruder (left tibia stress fracture), Okaro White (strained left shoulder) and Goran Dragić (rest) are all out.
- HEAT Offense: 95.6 (20)
- HEAT Defense: 97.6 (12)
- 76ers Offense: 95.8 (18)
- 76ers Defense: 100.6 (19)