The wait is over, Miami Heat basketball games now have a significant meaning to them.
After a three-game mini preseason to open the NBA’s return at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex, Miami will kick off a quadruple-header on ESPN as they enter their first of eight “seeding” games against the Denver Nuggets.
Both teams are in contention to maintain or climb to the third seed in their conference, with Denver 1.0 games behind the second spot in the West standings and Miami 1.5 games from third place in the Eastern Conference.
With three starters out for Denver, the South East division champs open as frontrunners to claim victorious.
Adebayo vs. Jokic: Battle of the centers who can do it all.
Seriously, whether it be to score or facilitate, what can’t Bam Adebayo and Nikola Jokic not do to benefit their respective team?
Both players did a great job limiting each other in their first meeting of the season, as Adebayo finished with 6 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists while Jokic totaled 9 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Considering their development compared to November, we’re in store for an interesting primetime matchup. It’ll be all about limiting Jokic from making his teammates excel offensively, something he’s consistently done.
A Heat victory places them 1.5 games behind the Celtics.
Boston’s 119-112 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks Friday night puts the Heat just 1.5 games behind the Boston Celtics for the third seed in the Eastern Conference standings.
Ironically, they’ll meet each other August 4, which for Miami, will be their second game of a back-to-back after playing the Toronto Raptors the previous night. With Boston holding the season-series at 2-0 versus the Heat, they’ll have to technically win 2.0 games to jump in seeding.
Inconsistent shooting drought looks to end for Herro.
Especially against a Denver team that outperformed Miami in their last meeting. They’ll need all the help available, including the return of Tyler Herro’s three-point shot.
The rookie guard shot 15 percent (3/20) from three-point range in the Heat’s three scrimmages, nowhere near his season-average 39.1 percent. Hopefully, the dry spell ends on a good note.
Heat: Rookie forward KZ Okpala will be available for Saturday’s game after missing all three scrimmages with tendinitis. Coach Spoelstra said all 17 players on the roster will be available, but can only make 13 active for the game.
Nuggets: Guard’s Will Barton (right hip muscle strain) and Gary Harris (knee soreness) have been ruled out versus the Heat. Point guard Jamal Murray (left hamstring tightness) is also out after being questionable hours prior to the game and Vlatko Cancar (left foot fracture) was placed on Denver’s Friday injury report.