Miami Heat game previews between October 31 and November 6, including games against: Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors.
Although their 1-2 record may not reflect a successful opening week, the Heat should be optimistic looking forward. After a win on the road in Orlando, Miami squandered a 19-point lead against the Hornets at home for their first loss of the season. Despite the double-digit lead, Miami struggled to replace Dwyane Wade's go-to scoring ability when the offense stagnated in the second half of that game. To close out the week, Miami battled an undefeated San Antonio squad and eliminated a 16-point San Antonio lead before Kawhi Leonard convincingly closed out the game for the Spurs. While Heat fans are already calling for Dion Waiters' head (6 TO against the Spurs, including a costly one in the final minute), Justise Winslow (14.3/6.3/3.7) is much more involved in the Heat offense and Hassan Whiteside (21.7/14.7/0.7) is already matching career-highs in points.
Tuesday, 1 November 2016 at 07:30 PM ET Home
Miami will be looking for the first home win of the season as they return to AmericanAirlines Arena to host the Kings in their third home game this season. After yet another disappointing 2015-2016 season in Sacramento (33-49), the Kings finished strong in week one with a 2-1 record, including wins over Phoenix and Minnesota and a close loss to San Antonio. One of the few bright spots for the Kings is DeMarcus Cousins, one of six NBA players averaging 30 or more points so far this season. Although the Heat won both matchups with the Kings last year, Cousins somehow managed to miss both of those games with one-game suspensions. Whiteside will have his hands full with the offensive powerhouse and elite center, but limiting Cousins will be the key to a victory for Miami.
Friday, 4 November 2016 at 07:30 PM ET Away
On Friday, the Heat will head to Toronto for the first time since getting knocked out of last year's playoffs in a hard-fought seven game series. In that series, Jonas Valanciunas and Hassan Whiteside were injured in game three, forcing both players to miss games four through seven. With Bismack Biyombo no longer on the roster, Valanciunas is seeing upwards of 33 minutes a game and is producing 21 points and 14 rebounds per game. He trails only one one player in the NBA in rebounds per game - Whiteside, who is averaging 14.7. Last week, the Raptors split their two games with a convincing win over the Pistons followed by a tough loss to the familiar Cavaliers. DeMar DeRozan has started off the year blazing hot, shooting over 50% from the field while tallying 36 points per game. The Heat will try to limit DeRozan and Valanciunas and instead force Kyle Lowry to shoot. Lowry has been struggling from the field so far, shooting a lowly 28% from the field and 20% from long-range on five attempts per game.