Clippers vs. Heat: Offense Likely Limited in Miami

Jacob McKenna previews Thursday's game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat, including a betting prediction.

Clippers vs. Heat Odds

Clippers Odds +5.5
Heat Odds -5.5
Over/Under 215.5
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Los Angeles Clippers continue their four-game road trip on Thursday when they travel to Miami to take on the Heat in a back-to-back.

The Clippers have dealt with some injuries this season, but have managed to stay afloat and are 14-12 after an overtime loss against the Magic on Wednesday.

Miami is in a similar spot in regards to injuries and is in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 11-14.

The Heat have eight guys listed on the injury report for this matchup, many of whom play key roles. Will the Clippers take advantage of that and bounce back from Wednesday’s loss, or will the likely undermanned Heat defend their home court?

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Los Angeles Clippers

Even without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the court for large chunks of time to begin the season, the Clippers have been able to keep their head above water and own a winning record.

It hasn’t always been pretty, as seen in Wednesday’s loss to the Magic, but LA has gotten to this point by playing stellar defense.

The Clippers rank fifth in the NBA in Defensive Rating (109.8), a great summary of what they are able to do on that end of the floor. TeamRankings also has the Clippers listed fifth in Opponent Field Goal percentage as they are holding opponents to just 45.4% shooting.

Additionally, LA has a strong defensive presence on the perimeter and has limited opponents to just 34.4% on 12.2 attempts per game from beyond the arc. The Clippers can clearly be a headache for their opponent.

However, the Clippers don’t compliment their stellar defense with much production on offense and rank 28th in Offensive Rating (108.3). That rating has slid to 107.2 in the past three games, a sign things aren’t getting much better.

Miami Heat

Injuries have played a large role in Miami’s slow start and it doesn’t appear the injury bug is going to leave this team alone any time soon.

The most notable name on the injury report is Jimmy Butler, who just returned from injury on December 2nd. It doesn’t appear Butler’s knee injury is causing him issues, but it is clear that the Heat are staying cautious with their franchise player. He is listed as a game-time decision and is a candidate to take the night off for “rest”.

Joining Butler on the injury report are Victor Oladipo, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Dewayne Dedmon and Max Strus. That is in addition to Gabe Vincent, who has already been ruled out. Miami’s depth will likely be heavily depleted for this matchup.

Having that many players sidelined is bad news for any team and will likely lead to very little production, but it is especially bad for the Heat as they struggle with their offensive output while fully healthy.

Through 25 games, the Heat rank 26th in Offensive Rating, scoring 109.1 points per 100 possessions. That is largely due to the fact that Miami is shooting just 33.7% from behind the arc and 44.9% from the floor overall.

Both of those percentages rank toward the bottom of the NBA and in Miami’s past three games, we have seen those percentages fall even further to 32.7% and 43.6%, respectively. The Heat are trending in the wrong direction and without many of their key contributors on the floor, I don’t forecast them getting back on track in this game.

Clippers-Heat Pick

I think the biggest factor in this game is going to be the Miami injuries, which should keep this game rather low scoring.

I doubt all of the names listed above will miss this matchup, but the fact that there are so many names listed is a cause for concern. When you combine that with the fact that LA was pushed to the brink in an overtime loss on Wednesday, I think it is likely we see very little offense.

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