The San Antonio Spurs have come out of the gates hot and sit 3-0. They’ve been particularly excellent on the defensive end, and are yet to allow an opponent to score 100 points against them. The offense has had its struggles without Kawhi Leonard, but LaMarcus Aldridge has played well, averaging 24.3 points. However, if they can continue this defensive solidity, this shouldn’t be a problem. Dejounte Murray has also impressed in Tony Parker’s absence and looks a promising prospect for the future.
The Miami Heat host the Spurs following a strong win against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night. Wayne Ellington was on fire from deep, shooting six of eight from the three-point line, as Miami took the win 103-94 in the second leg of their six-game home stretch. Injuries continue to ravage the team, though, with Dion Waiters unavailable for this game and Goran Dragic also under an injury cloud. Hassan Whiteside remains out with a bone bruise and Rodney McGruder is sidelined long term after an operation on a stress fracture in his leg.
Keys to the Game
Defense – The Spurs will look to provide the same lockdown defense each of their previous opponents faced. However, the Heat also need to tighten up on D given all their missing offensive talents if they’re to get the win.
Rebounding – The Spurs have been one of the better rebounding teams in league so far. If the Heat want to stay in this game, they have to keep the boards battle close, which will be tough without Whiteside.
Turnovers – The Heat had 19 turnovers against the Hawks. They can’t afford that many against a team like the Spurs who can score in transition with ease.
Matchup to Watch
James Johnson vs LaMarcus Aldridge – Not so much a matchup in terms of two scorers, but one scorer and a gritty player who will be up for the challenge in Johnson.
San Antonio Spurs Projected Lineup
PG – Dejounte Murray | SG – Danny Green | SF – Kyle Anderson | PF – LaMarcus Aldridge | C – Pau Gasol
Miami Heat Projected Lineup
PG – Goran Dragic | SG – Tyler Johnson | SF – Josh Richardson | PF – James Johnson | C – Kelly Olynyk
It will be tough for the Heat to stop Aldridge in this game, and the Spurs forward is likely to continue his high-scoring exploits as a result.
The Spurs are a 3.5-point favorite, and with another strong defensive performance they’ll cover the spread.
With so many absences, it will be tough for the Heat to get the win at home, even with no Kawhi Leonard to deal with. The Spurs will take this one by around eight points.
This game will be televised live on ESPN, and also on BT Sport if watching from the UK. Coverage starts at 8pm ET.
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