Miami (4-5) were led by Hassan Whiteside, who scored 21 points and grabbed 17 rebounds against the Clippers. But the other four starters for the Heat went just 9 for 26 from the field, which meant the bench had to step up. The Heat’s second unit was up to the task as Tyler Johnson scored 19 points, Wayne Ellington added 17 and James Johnson managed 14. The Heat squandered a lead of 23 points during the fourth quarter but two free throws by James Johnson sealed the victory with eight seconds remaining.
Golden State (7-3) started the season slower than expected but that appears to be behind them. The Warriors scored 51 points from 3-point range against Denver, with Kevin Durant the leading scorer with 25 points on 9-for-13 shooting. The Warriors shot an impressive 47.4% from behind the arc during their recent road trip. Durant, over his past four games, has shot 62.5% from the field, while the team has shot 51.8% or better during that same span.
Three keys to the game
Miami shutting down 3-point attack – Golden State live and die off the 3-point shot. The Warriors connected on 18 of their 3-point attempts on Saturday in Denver. Miami must extend their defense, defend against skip passes and give up a bit down low in the point to keep hands in the faces of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Durant.
Dion Waiters absence – Heat starting guard Dion Waiters will likely not play on Monday. His wife is expecting a child in Miami and Waiters has left the team to return to her side for the event. It is not yet known if he will return in time to play in Oakland. His absence would have significant ramifications for the Heat.
Goran Dragic’s scoring – Dragic is averaging 19.3 points per game and must keep the Golden State defenders honest with his outside scoring as well as drives to the hoop. Against the Clippers on Sunday, Dragic scored just 12 points on 3-for-9 shooting and must shoot better on Monday. Otherwise, the Warriors’ guards will be off to the races when Draymond Green or Zaza Pachulia pull down a rebound and start the fastbreak.
Matchup to watch
Hassan Whiteside vs Zaza Pachulia – Whiteside is considered by many to be one of the best – if not the best – centers in the NBA. The Miami big man can control the inside with his shot blocking and rebounding abilities. He led the league in blocked shots in 2016 and was fourth a season ago. He is one of four players dating back to 1986/87 to have four or more triple doubles consisting of points, rebounds and blocked shots. Pachulia is just filler for the Warriors and Whiteside will look to take advantage of that mismatch on Monday.
Heat projected starting lineup
PG – Goran Dragic | SG – Josh Richardson | SF – Justise Winslow | PF – Okaro White | C – Hassan Whiteside
Warriors projected starting lineup
PG – Stephen Curry | SG – Klay Thompson | SF – Kevin Durant | PF – Draymond Green | C – Zaza Pachulia
Durant has been shooting the lights out the past four games at over 62% from the floor. Look for the reigning Finals MVP to take advantage of the inexperienced Heat defenders and score big on Monday night.
Golden State are favored by 16.5 points with the over/under point total at 226.5. The Warriors are rested while the Heat will be playing a back-to-back on the road. That spells trouble for Miami, who may struggle to cover the spread.
Golden State have found their game of late having defeated three strong Western Conference opponents in the last ten days. Golden State win and cover, 128-109.
This game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Sun and NBCSBA. Tip-off at Oracle Arena is at 7:30 pm ET.
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