Tonight’s matchup: Miami Heat must solve Spurs’ defense to break long losing streak against San Antonio

MIAMI HEAT VS. SAN ANTONIO SPURS

When: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m.

Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio

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.

Miami’s Dion Waiters looks on during the Heat’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs early this season at AmericanAirlines Arena. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Heat

F: Justise Winslow

F: Josh Richardson

C: Bam Adebayo

G: Dion Waiters

G: Goran Dragic

Spurs

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.

[Opponents have adjusted to Heat’s drive-and-kick offense, now Heat must make adjustments of their own]

[Mailbag: Should the Heat consider using Dion Waiters in a bench role?]

[As Heat struggle to find consistency, odds of winning title, Eastern Conference getting much longer]

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Five takeaways: Miami Heat miss Hassan Whiteside in 117-100 loss to San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge, center, looks for an open teammate past Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) and forward Bam Adebayo (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

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.

The Spurs’ starting frontcourt of Pau Gasol (13 points, 9 rebounds) and LaMarcus Aldridge (31 points, 7 rebounds) combined for 44 points on 17-of-28 shooting, while the Heat’s starting frontcourt of Bam Adebayo and James Johnson combined for 25 points. Continue reading “Five takeaways: Miami Heat miss Hassan Whiteside in 117-100 loss to San Antonio Spurs”

Tonight’s matchup: Miami Heat face early-season test vs. San Antonio Spurs without Hassan Whiteside

Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside (21) dunks over San Antonio Spurs’ Pau Gasol (16) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

SAN ANTONIO SPURS VS. MIAMI HEAT

When: Wednesday, 8 p.m.

Where: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun, ESPN/WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

Records: San Antonio 3-0, Miami 2-1

STARTING LINEUPS

Spurs

F: Kyle Anderson

F: LaMarcus Aldridge

C: Pau Gasol

G: Danny Green

G: Dejounte Murray

Heat

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.

[Heat 3-point specialist Wayne Ellington has a shadow, and it’s rookie Matt Williams Jr.]

[Finally healthy, Josh Richardson says: ‘I want to dunk on everybody now’]

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Where would an all-time Heat roster rank compared to other NBA teams?

Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning helped the Heat win the 2006 NBA title.
Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning helped the Heat win the 2006 NBA title.

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.

For more, read PointAfter.

Five takeaways from the Miami Heat’s 94-90 loss to the San Antonio Spurs

SAN ANTONIO — It’s been a while since the Heat’s last win.

Miami fell to 2-7 this season in a 94-90 road loss to the Spurs on Monday. The Heat have now lost five consecutive games — their first five-game losing streak since March 8, 2011. Continue reading “Five takeaways from the Miami Heat’s 94-90 loss to the San Antonio Spurs”

The five best Game 7s in Miami Heat history

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

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.

Alonzo Mourning is restrained by Knicks Charles Oakley and Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy (bottom) after Mourning and Knicks Larry Johnson brawled during the final seconds of Game 4 of the playoffs. (Staff photo by Allen Eyestone)
Alonzo Mourning is restrained by Knicks Charles Oakley and Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy (bottom) after Mourning and Knicks Larry Johnson brawled during the final seconds of Game 4 of the playoffs. (Staff photo by Allen Eyestone)

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.

San Antonio Spurs rest forward LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Miami Heat

LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs congratulates Patty Mills #8 of the San Antonio Spurs after he made a shot at the end of the half during game between New Orleans Pelicans and the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on October 29, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs congratulates Patty Mills #8 of the San Antonio Spurs after he made a shot at the end of the half during game between New Orleans Pelicans and the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on October 29, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

MIAMI — The Heat are the beneficiaries of the Spurs’ busy opening-week schedule.

San Antonio held out forward LaMarcus Aldridge from Sunday’s game against the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena. This comes on the second night of a back-to-back set, as the Spurs defeated the Pelicans 98-79 on Saturday night. Continue reading “San Antonio Spurs rest forward LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Miami Heat”

Miami Heat: Our reporters’ predictions for the 2016-17 NBA season

ANTHONY CHIANG

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

Playoff predictions:

(Click for a larger version)
(Click for a larger version)

TOM D’ANGELO

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

Playoff predictions:

(Click for a larger version.)
(Click for a larger version.)

DAVE GEORGE

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

Tim Duncan retires: His link to the Miami Heat

Tim Duncan and Chris Bosh in the 2014 NBA Finals. (Getty Images)
Tim Duncan and Chris Bosh in the 2014 NBA Finals. (Getty Images)

Tim Duncan put together an unbelievable 19-year run with the San Antonio Spurs, stamped with 15 All-Star appearances and five championships, before announcing his retirement today.
Continue reading “Tim Duncan retires: His link to the Miami Heat”

Former Miami Heat guard Ray Allen eyes Golden State Warriors

Ray Allen, shooting a commercial, is considering a return. (Getty Images)
Ray Allen, shooting a commercial, is considering a return. (Getty Images)

Former Heat sharpshooter Ray Allen is sizing up his options for a possible return to the NBA.

Allen, who turns 41 in two weeks, left the league after playing for Miami in the 2014 Finals. His most memorable moment for the Heat, by far, was his game-tying 3-pointer in Game 6 of The Finals in 2013. That kept the team alive, and it followed by taking down the Spurs in Game 7.
Continue reading “Former Miami Heat guard Ray Allen eyes Golden State Warriors”