The Miami Heat head back out on the long stretch of highway hell-bent on ending a three-game road losing streak in Wednesday’s showdown with the San Antonio Spurs. They’re hopeful the two home wins over the Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets add some confidence in their upcoming road venture. The Spurs, on the other hand, will return to the AT&T Center in Texas after knocking off the Indiana Pacers and Phoenix Suns.
Injuries piling on the busy HeatThe injury list continues to grow with key names for the Heat. It’s expected for a team that came into Monday’s meeting with the Rockets competing in their fifth game in seven days. There simply hasn’t been enough time in between games, and their roster is suffering the consequences in the most important stretch of the season.
They still managed to knock off the Rockets after upsetting the Brooklyn Nets. Yet, they could be entering Wednesday’s meeting with the Spurs shorthanded with Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro all listed as questionable to play.
It would be a big problem for a team that’s already struggling on the offensive end of the floor to suddenly be without their top-three scorers. It’s an even bigger problem when considering the Spurs are no pushovers on defense. They are currently ranked 10th in the league in defensive efficiency, and they’ve held their last two opponents to less than 100 total points on offense.
Defense has been the recipe for success for the Heat, but that recipe would be missing key ingredients without Adebayo surveying the paint area and Butler stepping up to the challenge of contesting the opposing team’s best shooter.
It’s not the same Heat team without those guys.
Spurs still in the huntThe Spurs might be moving at a snail’s pace, but they’re still in the playoff race at this point. They appear to be hitting the on switch at the right moment considering they’re coming off back-to-back wins over the Indiana Pacers and Phoenix Suns.
The victory over the Suns is by far one of their most impressive performances of the season. They went on the road and held the No. 2-ranked team in the Western Conference to only 85 points on offense. The Suns are currently the seventh-ranked scoring offense in the league, and they couldn’t buy a bucket against the Spurs.
San Antonio has to keep the run alive if they have any hope of breaking into the playoffs. Wednesday’s game is shrouded in mystery with the health status of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo in question for the Heat. That could lead to a renewed focus on shutting down Kendrick Nunn for the Spurs. The Heat guard is coming off a team-high 30-point performance against the Rockets, and he’d obviously step into the role as the leading scorer if the team comes into this game shorthanded.
The Spurs should look to impose their defensive will and dominate on the boards. Miami was entering this game as the second-worst rebounding team in the league regardless of their health status. It isn’t often that the Spurs have a rebounding advantage in games, but this is their chance to be a bully on the boards and really dictate the pace of the game.
Of course, they still need DeMar DeRozan to knock down shots to save their flailing offense. He’ll have to do so against a Heat team that is ranked third in scoring defense.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Heat are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games playing on 1 days’ rest.
- Heat are 5-12 ATS in their last 17 road games against a team with a losing home record.
- Heat are 6-15 ATS in their last 21 Wednesday games.
- Heat are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points.
- Spurs are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Heat are certainly reaching a breaking point with all of the injuries piling up.
Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro are all questionable to suit up and play in this game. It hangs a cloud of uncertainty over the Heat in the possibility of continuing to play without their top-three scorers.
However, there’s nothing uncertain about the Spurs’ situation. They are playing for their playoff lives at this point. Every single loss they take from this point forward is a dagger to those hopes of sneaking in as a late seed. You can really see it in their desperate play on the floor. No, this isn’t the superbly-talented team San Antonio fans have grown accustomed to watching Gregg Popovich coach, but he’s still getting the most out of the guys he does have on the floor.
The Spurs are no joke defensively, and they can present some real problems for the Heat with or without their star players. Miami won’t have the luxury of playing at home in this game, and they’ll get smothered on the glass by a Spurs team that will continue to play like there’s no tomorrow.
I’m rolling with San Antonio on Wednesday.
Full-Game Total Pick
The possibility of Miami’s top-three scorers being out for this game really handicaps what they’re able to do offensively, which hasn’t been much even when they’ve been healthy. They are currently averaging only 104 points per game when playing on the road this season. Andre Iguodala isn’t at that point in his career where he can step up and give them 16 points as he did against Houston on a nightly basis. There’s also the fact that Houston stinks defensively. The Spurs will provide a tougher test considering they recently held the Suns’ seventh-ranked scoring offense to only 85 points. Give me the under in this one.