TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun/WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)
Records: Miami 11-12, Golden State 16-8
Line: San Antonio favored by 7.5 points.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
F: Justise Winslow
F: Josh Richardson
C: Bam Adebayo
G: Dion Waiters
G: Goran Dragic
F: Rudy Gay
F: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: Pau Gasol
G: Danny Green
G: Tony Parker
Scouting report: The Heat are playing back-to-back games against teams with the second- and third-best records in the Western Conference, Golden State and San Antonio. The Warriors blitzed the Heat in the second half Sunday on the way to a 123-95 victory. … The Heat and Spurs meet for the second, and final time, this season. San Antonio easily defeated the Heat, 117-100, a week into the season. Aldridge led the Spurs with 31 points. Gay had 22 off the bench. … Kawhi Leonard is getting closer to returning from the thigh injury that has kept him out all season, but he will not play against Miami. Forward Kyle Anderson, who started against Miami in October and led the Spurs with 10 rebounds, is out with a quadriceps injury. … Aldridge leads the Spurs with 22.8 points and 8.2 rebounds. … Tony Parker recently returned from his torn quadriceps muscle and has played four games. He is averaging 7.8 points and 4.0 assists. … Defensively, the Spurs are allowing a league low 97.0 ppg, and are second in defensive rating, 99.9. They allow the fewest second chance points, 10.3 per game. … The Heat are still without center Hassan Whiteside (left knee bruise), swingman Rodney McGruder (stress fracture, left leg) and forward Okaro White (left foot facture). … Adebayo will receive his fourth consecutive start in place of Whiteside. He is averaging 9.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in his last four games. … Miami is 6-6 on the road. … The Heat have lost eight straight to San Antonio.
MIAMI — The Heat were able to get by without Hassan Whiteside in the first two games he missed due a bone bruise in his left knee. But the Spurs made sure Miami missed its top rim protector on Wednesday.
San Antonio’s frontline dominated in a 117-100 win over the Heat (2-2) at AmericanAirlines Arena.
TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun, ESPN/WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)
Records: San Antonio 3-0, Miami 2-1
F: Kyle Anderson
F: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: Pau Gasol
G: Danny Green
G: Dejounte Murray
F: Josh Richardson
F: James Johnson
C: Bam Adebayo
G: Dion Waiters
G: Goran Dragic
Scouting report: Heat center Hassan Whiteside will miss his third consecutive game with a bone bruise in his left knee, and wing Rodney McGruder is out indefinitely after left tibia surgery. Point guard Goran Dragic will play despite a right thigh bruise, and shooting guard Dion Waiters will play despite lingering left ankle soreness. … The Spurs will also be shorthanded, as All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard (right quadriceps tendinopathy), point guard Tony Parker (left quadriceps tendon surgery) and forward Joffrey Lauvergne (sprained right ankle) will miss the contest. … The Spurs have won seven consecutive regular-season matchups with the Heat, a streak that began in the 2013-14 season. … Seven Heat players are averaging double-digit points this season, led by Whiteside (26.0 ppg). Dragic is second with 19.7 points per game … Kelly Olynyk leads the Heat with four charges taken this season, which is three more than any other player on the roster … The Heat’s paint defense has been subpar to start the year, as they entered Tuesday’s slate of games allowing the third-most paint points in the NBA at 52.0 per game. Meanwhile, San Antonio is attempting the second-most shots from within the restricted area this season at 35.7 per game. … San Antonio is 12-1 when Aldridge records 25+ points and 10+ rebounds in a game. Aldridge is averaging 24.3 points and 9.3 rebounds this season.
The Miami Heat have made a sizable impact on the NBA landscape since joining the association in 1988, but how would a roster of the Heat’s all-time best players stack up against other teams’ historic collections?
PointAfter, a data-driven sports-research website, created rosters of the 12 best players that have played for each NBA organization and ranked the teams based on the win shares that the players on the roster accumulated over their time with that franchise. The player were chosen based on “a combination of All-NBA team nods, All-Defensive teams earned, All-Star appearances, championship rings and overall contributions to the organization,” according to PointAfter.
The Miami Heat’s starting five features a quintet of familiar faces: Tim Hardaway at point guard, Dwyane Wade at shooting guard, LeBron James at small forward, Chris Bosh at power forward and Alonzo Mourning at center. It should come as no surprise that the “Big Three,” with their championship runs and award-winning seasons, are well represented among the Heat’s hypothetical starting five.
The Heat’s all-time roster boasts a deep bench consisting of Shaquille O’Neal, Glen Rice, P.J. Brown, Eddie Jones, Rony Seikaly, Ray Allen and Udonis Haslem. O’Neal likely lost out on a starting spot due to the brevity of his stay in Miami, while the face of the franchise Udonis Halsem’s longevity no doubt helped earn him a roster spot.
As a whole, the Heat’s all-time roster combined for a total of 549.3 win shares, placing them 21st out of 30 teams. Miami finished ahead of the Toronto Raptors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers and in-state rival Orlando Magic, among others.
Not surprisingly, the Boston Celtics feature the greatest all-time roster, led by Hall of Famers Larry Bird and Bill Russell, PointAfter says. Rounding out the top five behind the Celtics are the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs. Despite the efforts of Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls ranked only seventh on the list.
The World Series is going to a decisive Game 7 tonight as the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians look to break their respective decades-long title droughts.
The Miami sports landscape has yet to experience a championship dry spell of those proportions — thankfully. But the Heat do have their own storied history with Game 7s, having played in several winner-take-all affairs in the franchise’s 28 years of existence.
Here are the five best Game 7s in Heat history:
5. 2004 Eastern Conference first-round series vs. New Orleans Hornets
The 2004 Heat closely resembled the present day squad, a group of players with no real established star that had the ability to provide consistent production on a nightly basis. In the first round of the playoffs, the Heat squared off against a Hornets team led by Baron Davis, who averaged 18.1 points and seven assists over the course of the series. After surrendering series leads of 2-0 and 3-2, the Heat found themselves with a Game 7 on their home court. Miami jumped out to a seven-point lead in the first quarter and never looked back, narrowly outscoring the Hornets over the final three quarters en route to an 85-77 win. Miami held Davis to just five points on 2-for-7 shooting, but Steve Smith was able to pick up some of the slack with a 25-point night. The Heat were led by Caron Butler’s 23 points and nine rebounds, while a young Dwyane Wade scored 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting while posting seven assists.
4. 2013 Eastern Conference finals vs. Indiana Pacers
Coming off of an NBA title the previous season, the Heat were considered favorites to repeat, but they almost didn’t get the opportunity after running into a talented young Pacers team. A 22-year-old Paul George averaged 19.4 points, six rebounds and 5.1 assists and center Roy Hibbert dominated to the tune of 22.1 points and 10.4 rebounds a game as the upstart Pacers took the defending champs to the brink. After dropping Game 2 at home, Miami regained home-court advantage in Game 3. Eventually facing a Game 7 at home, Miami stepped up defensively, allowing no Pacer to reach the 20-point mark and holding George to just seven points on 2-of-9 shooting. On offense, the Heat rode 53 combined points between Dwyane Wade and LeBron James to return to the finals.
3. 1997 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. New York Knicks
In what is still likely the most heated playoff series in franchise history, a matchup that came to a head when a full-scale brawl broke out in Game 5 (see image at right), Miami was able to overcome the Knicks in seven games. The Heat got great guard play out of Tim Hardaway and solid production out of center Alonzo Mourning as they fought to force a Game 7 despite going down 3-1 in the series. Coming into the decisive matchup with two straight wins, the Heat used their momentum to jump out to a 25-14 first-quarter lead. The Knicks scored 36 points in the final quarter to make the game close, but the Heat held on to win 101-90. Miami withstood a masterful performance from center Patrick Ewing, who scored 37 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, while the Heat were led by Hardaway’s 38 points, seven assists and five steals.
2. 2012 Eastern Conference finals vs. Boston Celtics
When the “Big Three” formed, one of the main goals that bonded each player was his desire to get past the Celtics in the playoffs. After achieving that feat the previous year, Miami found themselves again matched up with a motivated and revenge-driven Boston team, but the Heat had plenty of motivation themselves to return to the NBA Finals, having lost to the Mavericks the year before. In this series, Miami went down 3-2 as talk swirled about a potential breakup of the “Big Three” model. But the Heat would run away with Game 6 in Boston, setting up a deciding game at American Airlines Arena. Despite each Boston starter scoring in double-figures, Miami held Boston’s bench to only two points. The Heat got 31 from LeBron James, 23 from Dwyane Wade and another 19 from Chris Bosh as they pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 101-88 victory.
1. 2013 NBA Finals vs. San Antonio Spurs
In a game that delivered Miami its third championship in franchise history, the Heat outlasted the Spurs in one of the most evenly matched Finals of the 21st century. The Spurs featured its own classic trio of Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, while Miami’s “Big Three” of James, Wade and Bosh proved a formidable grouping in its own right. Game 6 ended with a furious Heat comeback, capped off by the improbable corner 3-pointer by Ray Allen that sent the game to overtime and ultimately helped the Heat get a season-extending win. Game 7 was a close contest throughout, and the Heat held a two-point edge heading into the final minute of play. After a missed hook shot and tip-in by Tim Duncan, Miami came down the floor and called a timeout. After the timeout, James scored two of his 37 points on an elbow jumper that gave the Heat a lead they would not surrender. Miami went on to win the title with their 95-88 Game 7 victory.
With a bunch of new faces and no Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh, this Heat’s roster is full of question marks. But Miami’s new brand of basketball should be fun to watch, as the Heat will play fast and shoot a lot of three-pointers. A core of Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson should keep Miami in the playoff race for most of the season. Record: 40-42
Although the Heat are rebuilding, they will be entertaining. Miami is athletic, is going to hoist a lot of threes, will play hard and still has Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic leading the way. But it doesn’t have Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh and all that youth means the Heat will be sitting at home when the playoffs start for just the third time in the last 14 seasons. Record: 38-44
Too much depends on what the record looks like by the trading deadline in February to make much of an intelligent forecast. If Hassan Whiteside develops a more reliable offensive game and a thicker skin, Miami could be flirting with .500 by then. On the other hand, if Goran Dragic and the other guards don’t mesh into something comprehensible, Pat Riley could decide to blow the whole thing up by midseason. We’ll split the difference and say no disaster but no playoffs either. Record: 36-46