Two of the best defensive teams in the NBA meet as the Miami Heat travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets. The Heat lead the all time series 33-30, and the 2 teams have split their last 10 matchups head to head.
The Heat lost their last game 102-96 on the road against the Kings. Last Saturday (2/2) they lost to the Pacers 95-88 at home, and on Tuesday (2/5) they beat the Trailblazers 118-108 on the road.
The Nuggets are coming off a 117-110 loss on the road against the 76ers on Friday. On Monday (2/4) they lost 129-103 on the road against the Pistons, and on Wednesday (2/6) they lost 135-130 to the Nets on the road.
On the season, the Heat are 27-26 ATS, 16-10 ATS on the road, and 4-6 ATS in their last 10 games. On the season, the Nuggets are 29-26 ATS, 19-8 ATS at home, and 4-6 ATS in their last 10.
The line opened at Denver (-10).
(25-28 overall, 14-12 on the road, 4-6 in last 10)
Miami Heat averages 105.0 PPG, 35.0 RPG, 11.5 ORPG, 23.6 APG, 7.4 SPG, 5.7 BPG, and 15.2 TPG. As a team they shoot 44.5% from the field, 68.9% from the free throw line, and 35.0% from 3 point range. Defensively they hold teams to 105.5 PPG, 44.1 RPG, 44.3% shooting from the field, and 36.2% shooting from 3 point range.
They are led by swingman Josh Richardson who averages 17.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.8 APG and 1.1 SPG while shooting 40.9% from the field, 86.5% from the free throw line, and 37.3% from 3 point range. Dwyane Wade chips in 14.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 4.3 APG and 0.7 SPG while shooting 41.0/76.0/33.3. Hassan Whiteside contributes 13.1 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 2.2 BPG and 55.4% shooting from the field. Justise Winslow (12.1 PPG/5.4 RPG/4.2 APG/2.2 SPG), Kelly Olynyk (9.1 PPG/4.3 RPG/34.5% from 3), Rodney McGruder (8.6 PPG/3.6 RPG/2.0 APG), Bam Adebayo (7.9 PPG/6.6 RPG/0.8 BPG) and Dion Waiters (8.2 PPG/2.1 RPG/2.3 APG) are contributors as well.
G Goran Dragic (knee) – out, F Derrick Jones Jr. (knee) – out
(37-18 overall, 23-4 at home, 6-4 in last 10)
The Nuggets average 112.0 PPG, 46.2 RPG, 12.1 ORPG, 27.6 APG, 7.7 SPG, 4.6 BPG, and 13.4 TPG. As a team they shoot 47.3% from the field, 75.4% from the free throw line, and 35.5% from 3 point range. Defensively they hold teams to 107.2 PPG, 41.7 RPG, 46.1% shooting from the field, and 34.8% shooting from 3 point range.
Nikola Jokic leads the way for the Nuggets with 20.4 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 7.7 APG, 1.4 SPG and 0.7 BPG while shooting 50.8% from the field, 84.6% from the free throw line, and 30.1% from 3 point range. Jamal Murray contributes 18.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 5.0 APG and 0.8 SPG while shooting 43.3/84.0/36.4. Will Barton adds 12.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.4 APG, 0.6 BPG and 37.9% shooting from 3. Paul Millsap (12.0 PPG/6.5 RPG/1.2 SPG/0.8 BPG), Malik Beasley (11.6 PPG/2.5 RPG/42.9% from 3), Monte Morris (10.7 PPG/3.9 APG/0.9 SPG/43.8% from 3) and Trey Lyles (9.5 PPG/4.2 RPG/1.5 APG) chip in as well.
G Gary Harris (groin) – out, F Paul Millsap (ankle) – game time decision, G Isaiah Thomas (hip) – doubtful
Denver has been phenomenal at home this season, with their 4 losses coming to the Nets, Bucks, Rockets, and Warriors, with the first 3 coming during a 3 game stretch in early November. The Heat are also playing the 2nd game of a back to back and their 3rd game in 4 days, coming off emotional close losses at Sacramento and at Golden State.
The Heat are on the fringe of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, and desperately need to string together some wins to solidify their spot down the stretch of the season with less than 30 games remaining. They play fantastic defense, and are among the best in the league at limiting teams to one shot.
However, Denver has a propensity for breaking down defenses and getting the best possible shot with excellent ball movement and knockdown shooters. The Heat will make this a game for 30+ minutes, but Denver should pull away down the stretch as tired legs and a lack of big time scorers force the Heat to fall behind.
Final Pick: Denver (-10)