The Clippers come to Miami for the only time this season as they face the Heat in a primetime game. Miami is coming off a win in Brooklyn that ended a three game losing streak. Meanwhile, the Clippers are coming off a dominating 24 point win in Orlando last night.
The Heat started off strong this season–a 5-2 start was beginning to silence some critics. Since, Miami has dropped three of their last four, and are 3-5 in their last eight games. Consistency has been an issue in the recent Heat skid, but a win without three key players in Brooklyn was an impressive turnaround. The Heat played without two of their normal starters–Wade for the last three games, while Deng missed the last game. McRoberts, who could be a potential starter as time goes on, is still struggling to make a full comeback.
Much like their opponent tonight, the Clippers have also been facing consistency issues. At 6-4, the Clippers have been trading between wins and losses for the last nine games. The Clippers have not won consecutive games ever since they began their season at 2-0.
With the exception of the Hawks game, the Heat defense has been stellar lately. Although the results have not been what the Heat would have liked, the defensive production has been a lot better than in earlier games. However, the offense has gotten significantly worse—the Heat have only scored over 95 points once in their last four games, and they still could not pull off the victory in this game.
The Heat will be face a tough down low game from All-Star Blake Griffin and big man Deandre Jordan. The Clippers, shockingly, rank 29th in the league in rebounding, but this is no reason to disregard the concern since the Heat have always had rebounding issues and the Clippers are bound to turn this number around.
With Wade and Deng doubtful for tonight’s game, Mario Chalmers will have another chance to shine, along with rookies Shabaaz Napier and James Ennis. Chalmers has been shooting an extraordinary 52 percent since Wade was sidelined with injuries, and averaging 21 points a game over the span. Ennis played a season high 36 minutes against Brooklyn, finishing with 10 points and 8 rebounds, while Napier produced 11 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Every player that had floor time in the win in Brooklyn scored for Miami, a nice way to turn around the offense after an ugly span of offensive performances.
Another player to watch for will be Chris Bosh. Bosh, in Miami’s three consecutive losses prior to the Brooklyn game, was not producing. Bosh was a huge part of Miami’s losses, shooting a mere 24% from the field. Bosh showed some hints of life in the last win, scoring 15 on 5-11 shooting. If Bosh is unable to play better with the absence of Wade, wins will not come easy for Miami.