The Heat have four games this week starting Tuesday at home against the Knicks before heading back on the road for three more.
But it’s the final two games of the week that will draw the most interest. Miami will face its two most famous alumni on back-to-back nights, traveling to Cleveland Friday to meet LeBron James and the world champion Cavaliers for the first time this season and hopping over to Chicago the next night for their second look this season at Dwyane Wade.
Here are three things to watch.
New look Knicks: The Heat face the Knicks for the first time this season. New York has won three straight and 6-of-8 to climb back over .500 (11-9). The Knicks hope adding veterans Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis can make them relevant again. The Knicks have been among the most dysfunctional organizations in sports in the last 15 years, having reached the playoffs once while continuing to carry a bloated payroll despite failing time after time to land its targeted free agents. Still, adding Rose and Noah is a short-term fix.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade: The Heat get their first look at James on Thursday since he brought Cleveland a title. James returned to his hometown three years ago after leading the Heat to four consecutive Finals appearances and two titles. He has stretched his streak of playing in the Finals to six consecutive years. Wade will face his old mates for the second time, first in Chicago. Wade was pedestrian in his celebrated return to Miami after spending 13 years with the Heat, scoring 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting. Wade has been a nice complement to leading scorer Jimmy Butler, averaging 19.1 points.
Better health: Miami is coming off a successful 2-1 road trip out West despite being shorthanded. Justice Winslow (wrist) and Dion Waiters (groin) didn’t travel on the trip, Josh Richardson (ankle) also missed all three games and Luke Babbitt (hip) went down in the first quarter of the second game. Winslow has missed 11 games but appears to be the closest among the group to returning. He will go through a hard practice today and could play Tuesday. Babbitt and Richardson are day-to-day while Waiters will be re-evaluated in about 10 days. Miami has yet to play a game this season with its entire roster healthy.