Miami Heat game previews between November 7 and November 13, including games against: Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Heat split their two games last week, edging the Sacramento Kings in overtime at home while dropping one on the road to the Toronto Raptors. In the former game, Hassan Whiteside struggled to stay on the floor, notching five fouls in 28 minutes, though still managing a double-double (14/11). Miami's Tyler Johnson is also proving to be worth his new contract as he made several clutch shots against Sacramento on his way to 22 points. Although the Raptors looked in control for much of latter game, one bright spot for Miami is the return of Josh Richardson, who will need to shake off the rust after missing the preseason and start of the regular season.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Monday, 7 November 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Away
Russell Westbrook is, without a doubt, the engine and heart of the Oklahoma City Thunder - stopping him (or at least slowing him down) is the key to beating them. Westbrook is currently averaging 33/9/10, a stat line that would make even LeBron envious. Miami will need to funnel Westbrook into their defensive anchor and force other OKC players to make plays. Thunder newcomer, Victor Oladipo, is the second-highest scorer for the team, averaging 15 points per game, though he is struggling a bit with sub 40% shooting (he was 44% last year with the Magic). Although the Thunder are the favorites in this matchup, a lockdown defender (see Justise Winslow) could be the key to a Miami victory and a return to .500.
Thursday, 10 November 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home
Since the Bulls started the season 3-0, they have come back to earth and lost their last three games in a row. Labeled as a team with no three-point shooters, many felt the Bulls wouldn't be able to effectively compete in a league that prioritizes the three-point shot. Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade were not seen as outside threats before the start of the season, but both players are somehow averaging 48% on 3.5 attempts per game. While the high efficiency won't continue indefinitely, the emergence of an effective three-point shot for these players adds another facet to the Bulls' game that Miami will need to account for. All eyes will be on Wade as the Heat matchup with Chicago for the first time since Wade left after thirteen years with Miami. Although Wade's return to Miami will be the more interesting reunion game, Wade will surely give it his all to prove his worth.
Saturday, 12 November 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home
As a young, improving team, the Jazz are expected to make the playoffs this year after just missing out last season. Young big men Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors are another year older and the additions of George Hill and Joe Johnson give the Jazz veteran experience. Additionally, Gordon Hayward (broken finger) returned to action last week and made an immediate impact, scoring 28 points in his season debut. The Heat will need to put together a complete game if they expect to challenge a deep and talented Utah team.