MIAMI – The Miami Heat will be as close to its full roster for tonight’s preseason finale as they have all month, but some of the regulars will play limited numbers.
Forwards Justise Winslow (back) and Luke Babbitt (groin) will return and start against the 76ers, but coach Erik Spoelstra said they will play “a few minutes.” Winslow missed the last two games and Babbitt has sat the last four.
Center Hassan Whiteside, who missed one game this week following the death of his great grandmother and guard Goran Dragic, who was rested Thursday in Charlotte, will play.
Spoelstra was asked if he’s accomplished what he set out to do when camp started 24 days ago.
“We’ve made progress and what we set out to do was create an identity of how we want to play,” he said. “Guys are understanding what’s important to us on both sides of the ball. Guys also have worked at connecting, communicating better. I think the last month has been productive.”
The Heat will trim the roster from 20 to 15 players in the next three days. Forward Okaro White, center Vashil Fernandez and guard Luis Montero all likely will be cut Saturday. The Heat are hoping they clear waivers and can be assigned to their D-League team in Sioux Falls.
“It is tough,” Spoelstra said about cutting players, “because this is their livelihood and the guys in particular that spent the entire summer with us. They’ve put a lot of time investment with us and we reciprocated everything we have to them and helped them to become hopefully better basketball players.
“Hopefully we can transition a lot of these guys and keep them in our umbrella.”