Injury update: Looks like the Heat will have the complete group tonight, except for Dion Waiters

Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside stands on the court before the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI — Hassan Whiteside is on track to return from injury in Thursday’s home game against the Bulls … and so is Bam Adebayo. Continue reading “Injury update: Looks like the Heat will have the complete group tonight, except for Dion Waiters”

Tonight’s matchup: Heat face tanking Bulls; hope to close in on playoff spot

Josh Richardson of the Miami Heat drives against Lauri Markkanen of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 15. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO BULLS AT MIAMI HEAT

When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun/WAXY 790AM, WRTO 98.3 FM (Spanish)

Records: Miami 40-35, Chicago 24-50

Line: Miami favored by 13 points.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Heat

F: James Johnson

F: Josh Richardson

C: Hassan Whiteside

G: Tyler Johnson

G: Goran Dragic

Bulls

F: Lauri Markkanen

F: Denzel Valentine

C: Robin Lopez

G: Justin Holiday

G: Cameron Payne

Scouting report: The Heat hope to have Hassan Whiteside in the lineup for the first time since March 8. Whiteside has missed nine straight game with a left hip flexor strain and is listed as questionable after participating in Wednesday’s practice. Miami is 5-4 in those games. … Whiteside’s backup, Bam Adebayo, is out with a sprained right ankle. … The Heat have won 10-of-11 at home, five of those by at least 19 points, including Tuesday’s 98-79 victory over the Cavaliers. … Miami is seventh in the East, one/half game against of No. 8 Milwaukee and 5.5 games in front of No.9 Detroit. Miami has seven games remaining. The Heat can clinch a playoff spot with a victory and a Pistons loss at home to the Wizards. … The Bulls are in full tank mode and are doing a good job it, losing their last six games by an average of 20.5 points, including a 118-86 blowout loss at Houston on Tuesday, a game in which Lauri Markkanen was the Bulls’ only starter in double figures with 22 points. … Chicago has the fourth-worst defensive rating (109.4), third-worst offensive rating (101.6) and and third-worst net rating (-7.8) in the league.  … The Heat have won 2-of-3 this season with Goran Dragic leading Miami with 19.7 points in the three games. … Tyler Johnson is shooting 58.3 percent (14-of-24) on 3-pointers in his last five games.

[Wade a finalist for NBA citizenship award for his support of Parkland community]

[Miami Heat hopeful Hassan Whiteside will return from hip injury Thursday

[Heat dust off Jordan Mickey and he comes through in win over Cavaliers]

[Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says assistant Dan Craig ready to be NBA head coach ‘right now’]

[Was Tuesday the final game between LeBron James and Dwyane Wade?]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

Miami Heat hopeful Hassan Whiteside will return from hip injury Thursday vs. Bulls

MIAMI — With the start of the playoffs just a few weeks away, it looks like the Heat are going to get their $98 million center back very soon.

After missing the past nine games with a strained left hip flexor, Whiteside went through his first live competitive work in Wednesday’s practice since suffering the injury. The Heat are hopeful their starting center will be able to play in Thursday’s home game against the Bulls, but rookie Bam Adebayo is expected to miss his second consecutive game with a sprained right ankle.

“I feel fine,” said Whiteside, who is listed as questionable for Thursday’s contest. “You know, it was just different being on the court, finally getting back to it. You know, I haven’t shot a basketball in a while, so it was a little different.” Continue reading “Miami Heat hopeful Hassan Whiteside will return from hip injury Thursday vs. Bulls”

Heat mailbag: Is it dangerous for teams to jockey to face Boston in first round of playoffs?

Miami Heat forward Kelly Olynyk is congratulated by teammate Wayne Ellington after his second quarter score during the Heat victory over Cleveland on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)

Time for another Miami Heat mailbag.

If you were not able to ask a question this time, send them along for future mailbags via Twitter to @tomdangelo44 and @Anthony_Chiang. You can also e-mail me at tdangelo@pbpost.com.

From @ChrisHypeTrain: Should teams try to position themselves to play a certain team in the playoffs?

This comes under the ‘be careful what you wish for’ category. But I am assuming you are referring to the Heat and if they should try to finish seventh and set up a first-round series with the Celtics. Miami currently holds the seventh spot, one half game ahead of No. 8 Milwaukee, after defeating Cleveland on Tuesday while the Bucks fell at the Clippers.

Everyone wants to play the Celtics in the first round since it was announced Kyrie Irving could miss three to six weeks after having knee surgery last week. This comes after injuries to Marcus Smart (thumb) and Daniel Theis (knee) and suddenly the Celtics appear vulnerable. Smart will miss at least the rest of the regular season and likely the early rounds of the playoffs and Theis is out for the year.

Boston pretty much is locked into the No. 2 seed being 3.5 games behind No. 1 Toronto and seven games ahead of No. 3 Cleveland. But this becomes a dangerous game and Goran Dragic told Anthony Chiang why last week.

“It’s tricky,” Dragic said. “I always think karma can get you back, especially in the playoffs. We just need to continue to do our jobs and try to win games, and then in the end we’ll see who we’re going to get. But yeah, now with all these injuries everybody wants to have Boston. But you never know, maybe [Irving] is going to come back earlier.”

In the end, no, I do believe any team will intentionally lose a game to try to fall to seventh spot – Milwaukee and Miami appear to be the most likely two to wind up there but Washington has been trending down and could drop to No. 7. As for the Heat, that has never been their style and I highly doubt they would try to fall back if they were in the sixth spot or not try to win every game if they were No. 7.

From Joseph, Pompano Beach: With Whiteside missing so many games this year and especially lately, how much to the Heat really miss him?

Miami’s play of late – with the exception of close losses at Oklahoma City and Indiana – suggests not very much. Miami has won four of its last six and are 5-4 since Hassan Whiteside went down with a strained left hip flexor. The Heat have survived OK without Whiteside this season. In fact, they are 14-14 in the 28 games Whiteside has not played (18 of those due to two separate bone bruises on his left knee). But as much as Whiteside right now seems to be the forgotten man and many believe the Heat will be fine without him, I still believe the Heat will be better off having that 7-foot, shot-blocking, defensive anchor in the middle come playoff time when the game slows down and becomes more of a half-court game, especially in the East.

[Photo Gallery: Miami Heat host LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers]

[Was Tuesday the final game between LeBron James and Dwyane Wade?]

[With Bam Adebayo ailing (sprained ankle), Heat to face Cavaliers without top two centers]

[Erik Spoelstra on getting the call his wife, Nikki, is in labor: ‘I wasn’t ready mentally. … It shocked me’]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

 

 

UPDATE: With Bam Adebayo ailing (sprained ankle), Heat to face Cavaliers without top two centers; Jordan Mickey in starting lineup

Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat prepares to rebound the ball against the Indiana Pacers during Sunday’s game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

MIAMI – Already without starting center Hassan Whiteside, the Heat now will be without his replacement, Bam Adebayo, for tonight’s game against Cleveland.

The 6-foot-10 Adebayo sprained his right ankle during Sunday’s loss at Indiana and will join the 7-foot Whiteside on the bench. Whiteside will miss his ninth straight game because of a left hip flexor.

Jordan Mickey, who has played in five games since Jan. 3, will make his third start of the season. The 6-8 Mickey is averaging 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 21 games.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Adebayo “really wanted to push through and play” against the Cavs but that Adebayo was not moving well enough.

“He’s walking without a limp so from that standpoint it’s good,” Spoelstra said. “But the swelling is there and he definitely cannot play in an NBA game tonight and certainly not at the speed and intensity this game is going to require.”

Without Adebayo, the Heat will be down to 7-foot Kelly Olynyk as the lone legitimate center from the rotation. The Heat also have James Johnson, Jordan Mickey and Udonis Haslem, all 6-8, who have spent time at center, although Haslem and Mickey have played in a combined 32 games this season. Olynyk is averaging 27.9 minutes and 15.2 points since Whiteside was injured but Spoelstra would not say if he would start.

The Cavaliers have been starting 6-10 Kevin Love at center.

Adebayo said he was injured in the third quarter Sunday when he landed on the foot of Victor Oladipo after blocking his shot. Adebayo finished the game with 14 points and five rebounds, his best scoring game since Whiteside went down.

Adebayo is hoping to be back for Thursday’s game against the Bulls.

“It’s day-to-day,” Adebayo said. “I’m not the type of person to sit out long. I feel like my body heals faster than most people so I feel like I’m going to come back sooner than expected.”

Adebayo said he’s getting treatment like “breakfast, lunch and dinner and just keep trying to build up my ankle strength and mobility.”

On the season Adebayo is averaging 7.0 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 52.4 percent. In his last eight games as a starter he is averaging 6.8 points and 7.9 rebounds and his shooting had dipped to 37.3 percent.

Spoelstra said Whiteside is progressing but gave no further report on his condition. Whiteside was injured during shootaround on March 10.

[Erik Spoelstra on getting the call his wife, Nikki, is in labor: ‘I wasn’t ready mentally. … It shocked me’]

[LeBron James discusses Dwyane Wade’s time in Cleveland and Heat memories]

[Behind the numbers: A look at how the Heat have played since the All-Star break, and why it’s better than their record shows]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

 

 

What to know about tonight’s game: Will Heat find a way to slow down LeBron James and Cavaliers?

Dwyane Wade and LeBron James will face off Tuesday at AmericanAirlines Arena. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS AT MIAMI HEAT

When: Tuesday, 8 p.m.

Where: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami

TV/Radio: TNT/WAXY 790AM, WRTO 98.3 FM (Spanish)

Records: Cleveland 44-29, Miami 39-35

Line: Cavaliers favored by 3.5 points

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Cavaliers

G: LeBron James

F: Larry Nance Jr.

C: Kevin Love

G: George Hill

G: Jose Calderon

Heat

F: Josh Richardson

F: James Johnson

C: Bam Adebayo

G: Tyler Johnson

G: Goran Dragic

Scouting report: Miami will be without Dion Waiters (left ankle surgery). Hassan Whiteside (left hip flexor strain) is also listed as out for Tuesday’s game against Cleveland. … Cleveland will be without Jeff Green (illness), Kyle Korver (excused absence, not with team) and Cedi Osman (left hip strain). … The Cavaliers enter on a five-game winning streak. … LeBron James is averaging 34.4 points on 61.5 percent shooting to go with 9.6 rebounds and 11.2 assists during Cleveland’s five-game winning streak. … Also during the Cavaliers’ five-game winning streak, the team is averaging 122.2 points on 51.8 percent shooting from the field. … Cleveland has now scored at least 120 points in a franchise-record tying four consecutive games. … The Heat enter on a two-game losing skid. … Miami has posted a 9-7 record since the All-Star break, with four of those losses coming in overtime. … The Heat enter on a season-high six-game home winning streak, including 9-1 in their past 10 in Miami. … The Heat and Cavaliers have already faced off twice this season, with Cleveland winning both of those games — the Cavaliers beat the Heat 108-97 in Cleveland on Nov. 28 and the Cavaliers beat the Heat 91-89 in Cleveland on Jan. 31.

[Behind the numbers: A look at how the Heat have played since the All-Star break, and why it’s better than their record shows]

[Heat set to host LeBron James and Cavaliers with unusual predicament looming: Is No. 7 in East better than No. 6?]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

Heat set to host LeBron James and Cavaliers with unusual predicament looming: Is No. 7 in East better than No. 6?

INDIANAPOLIS — The good news is the Heat are coming back to Miami for a four-game homestand. The bad news is they are about to face one of the hottest teams in the NBA.

The Heat return home — on Monday after a mechanical issue with their team plane forced them to stay in Indianapolis on Sunday night — from a winless two-game trip to face LeBron James and the Cavaliers on Tuesday. As bad as Miami has been on the road (1-11 in past 12 road games), the Heat have been dominant at home recently with wins in nine of their past 10 games played at AmericanAirlines Arena. Continue reading “Heat set to host LeBron James and Cavaliers with unusual predicament looming: Is No. 7 in East better than No. 6?”

Erik Spoelstra calls Dwyane Wade’s play in his return from injury ‘very encouraging’

Dwyane Wade made his return from injury Friday vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Dwyane Wade’s seven-point performance in Friday’s loss to the Thunder isn’t one many will remember past this season, but it was one to be encouraged by.

It marked Wade’s return after missing five games with a strained left hamstring. The future Hall of Fame guard didn’t suffer a setback and finished with seven points on 3-of-9 shooting, one rebound and two assists in 20 minutes. Continue reading “Erik Spoelstra calls Dwyane Wade’s play in his return from injury ‘very encouraging’”

Update: Dwyane Wade returns to Miami Heat’s active roster vs. Thunder

Miami Heat travel to OKC to start final 10g-game stretch with three straight games agianst playoff bound teaems. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Dwyane Wade returned to the Heat’s active roster for Friday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade will warm up with the intention of playing after missing the past five games with a strained left hamstring. The 12-time All-Star went through the morning’s shootaround session. Continue reading “Update: Dwyane Wade returns to Miami Heat’s active roster vs. Thunder”

Mailbag: What is the ideal first-round playoff matchup for the Miami Heat?

The Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside (21) celebrates after a 104-98 win against the Boston Celtics at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS)

OKLAHOMA CITY — It’s time for another Heat mailbag.

If you weren’t able to ask a question this time, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44). You can also email me at achiang@pbpost.com. Continue reading “Mailbag: What is the ideal first-round playoff matchup for the Miami Heat?”