Tonight’s matchup: Heat face high scoring Warriors without defensive anchor Hassan Whiteside

Miami’s Goran Dragic goes up for a shot on Golden State’s Andre during the Warriors victory at ORACLE Arena on November. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS VS. MIAMI HEAT

When: Sunday, 7 p.m.

Where: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami.

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

Records: Miami 11-11, Golden State 17-6

Line: Golden State favored by 10 points.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Heat

F: Justise Winslow

F: Josh Richardson

C: Bam Adebayo

G: Dion Waiters

G: Goran Dragic

Warriors

F: Kevin Durant

F: Draymond Green

C: Zaza Pachulia

G: Klay Thompson

G: Stephen Curry

Scouting report: The Warriors defeated the Heat, 97-80, in Oakland one month ago. Kevin Durant scored 21 points to lead Golden State. James Johnson led Miami with 21. … Golden State won 6-of-7 in the series, the lone Heat win 105-102 last January thanks to Dion Waiters’ 3-pointer in the final second. … The Warriors are coming off a 133-112 victory on Orlando Friday in which they scored 78 points in the first half. They had a season-high 46 assists. They had three players with at least 20 points; Klay Thompson, 27; Durant, 25; Stephen Curry, 23. … Thompson leads the league with 11.7 catch-and-shoot points per game. He has made at least one 3-pointer in 77 consecutive games. … The Warriors top the NBA in scoring (118.0 ppg), field goal percent (.512), opponents’ field goals percentage (.435) and 3-point field goal percentage (.401). … Curry is third in the NBA with 26.0 points per game, Durant is ninth at 24.9. Durant leads all players in blocks with 2.11 per game. … Tonight is the third game of the Warriors’ season-long six-game road trip. … The Warriors are 9-2 vs. teams from the Eastern Conference. … The Heat will be without center Hassan Whiteside (left knee bruise) for the third straight game. Also, Rodney McGruder (stress fracture, left leg) and Okaro White (left foot facture) remain out. … The Heat have allowed the seventh fewest points per game, 102.8, in the league. … Miami has won its last two home games after losing 5-of-6. … Leading scorer Goran Dragic has just 20 points in his last three games while shooting 7-of-29.

[Why did Heat decide to sign Josh Richardson to extension? Just look at what he did vs. Hornets]

[Bam Adebayo shines on defense vs. Dwight Howard]

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

 

Tonight’s matchup: Heat face Warriors high-powered offense after notching first road win of season

Hassan Whiteside and the Heat celebrate last season after Dion Waiters’ game-winner over the Warriors. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

MIAMI HEAT VS. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

When: Monday, 10:30 p.m.

Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, Calif.

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

Records: Miami 4-5, Golden State 7-3

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Heat

F: Okaro White

F: Justise Winslow

C: Hassan Whiteside

G: Josh Richardson

G: Goran Dragic

Warriors

F: Kevin Durant

F: Draymond Green

C: Zaza Pachulia

G: Klay Thompson

G: Stephen Curry

Scouting report: Miami’s most thrilling victory last season was over Golden State, 105-102 capped by a Dion Waiters’ 3-pointer with less than a second to play. Now, the Heat may have to face the defending World Champions without their starting shooting guard as Waiters returned to Miami on Saturday to witness the birth of his daughter. The team says Waiters will return during this trip, which still has four games remaining, but when is the question. … Miami plays its first back-to-back set of the season after defeating the Clippers on Sunday without Waiters, 104-101. The Heat blew a 23-point fourth quarter lead before rallying. The win was Miami’s first on the road this season and evens this six-game road trip at 1-1. … The Warriors have won three straight, all on the road. … Golden State is the only team in the league with three players averaging at least 20 points per game – Stephen Curry at 26.7, Kevin Durant at 25.3 and Klay Thompson at 21.0. … The Warriors lead the league in points per game (120.7), FG percentage (.526) and are second in 3-point FG percentage (.414) … Thompson has made at least one 3-pointer in 64 consecutive games, ninth longest streak in NBA history. … The teams split the series last season with the Heat losing for the third straight year in Oakland.

[A look at Sunday’s Willie Reed-Miami Heat reunion]

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

 

LeBron James believes his move to Heat was different than Kevin Durant’s move to Warriors

LeBron James compared his move to Miami and Kevin Durant’s move to Golden State.

MIAMI — Kevin Durant left the franchise that drafted him to join a super team in Golden State. LeBron James also left the franchise that drafted him to join a super team in Miami.

That’s where the similarities stop, according to James. Continue reading “LeBron James believes his move to Heat was different than Kevin Durant’s move to Warriors”

Heat mailbag: How important is this offseason for Justise Winslow?

Heat forward Justise Winslow has his full range of motion back in his right shoulder. ‘I feel great,” he said. (Anthony Chiang/Palm Beach Post)

MIAMI — This is an important offseason for Justise Winslow.

How important? We answer that question and more in this week’s installment of the 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). Continue reading “Heat mailbag: How important is this offseason for Justise Winslow?”

Monday was wild, but Heat’s 1996 upset of 72-10 Bulls was even crazier

Monday’s 105-102 upset of the Golden State Warriors was one of the most shocking victories in Miami Heat history and it provides the blueprint for Erik Spoelstra for defeating the league’s best as the season continues.

First, forget about getting Tyler Johnson, Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson back in the lineup. Obviously, the Heat don’t need them.

Dion Waiters of the Miami Heat poses for photo media during Heat Media Day at American Airlines Arena, September 26, 2016. Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post

Dion Waiters of the Miami Heat poses during Heat Media Day at American Airlines Arena, September 26, 2016. Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post

Second, get a subpar performance from Hassan Whiteside. His meager 10 points in 35-plus minutes on Monday were well below average but clearly vital in distracting the Warriors from their pregame keys.

Third, tell Goran Dragic to dial it down a bit, too. He made just 5-of-14 Monday from the field and was pretty lousy from the foul line, too, missing 5-of-13. Again, brilliant subterfuge.

Fourth, take a kid who has barely played in the NBA and give him significant minutes. Okaro White, who prior to Monday was 0-for-3 in a grand total of two career games, contributed five very necessary points to the win over the Warriors.

Fifth, get Dion Waiters and Luke Babbitt to combine for 9-for-12 from three-point range. Now there’s a game plan that should be easily repeatable, right?

All kidding aside, there’s only been one Heat game more ridiculous than this one was in terms of overperforming. That was Miami’s easy 113-104 win over Michael Jordan’s invincible Chicago Bulls on Feb. 23, 1996.

Chicago was on its way to a 72-10 regular season, a record that stood until Golden State went 73-9 last year. We’re talking about MJ, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and the boys, plus Steve Kerr, the current Warriors coach, off the bench.

Defeating them that night was a Miami team coached by Pat Riley but stuck in a disastrous roster limbo. The 24-29 Heat had just made a trade for Tim Hardaway, Chris Gatlin and two other players but those fresh troops had not yet arrived. Consequently, there were only eight Miami players dressed and ready to play against the Bulls but it hardly mattered.

Rex Chapman, who averaged 14 points per game that year, went off for a season-high 39 against the Bulls, hitting 9-of-10 from three-point range in the process.

“He reminded me of Jerry West,” Riley said of Chapman.

Don’t know about that, but Rex did outscored Jordan that night by eight points.

Here’s an excerpt from the Palm Beach Post’s deadline story on the upset, written by Tom D’Angelo. Of course, Tom was there. He’s everywhere.

“Some nights are hard to explain. Friday was one of them.

Playing with eight players and against the team some are touting as the best of all time, the Miami Heat submitted their most impressive performance of the season.

The Heat – relying heavily on three-point shooting – shocked the Chicago Bulls 113-104 at Miami Arena. Miami showed emotion (and outside shooting) rarely seen this season less than 24 hours after the team was gutted by three trades involving 10 players.

“You see it all the time in sports,” said Heat guard Rex Chapman, who equaled his career high with 39 points. “A team that’s undermanned on paper, and has no chance at all…Nobody is more surprised than we are, I’ll admit that. But if we had come out and laid down, we could have been beaten by 100.”

That’s just a flavor from D’Angelo’s complete story, and here are a few last notes I’ll throw in, too.

In the two games prior to that monumental upset, Miami scored 70 points in a loss to Cleveland and 66 in a win over Philadelphia.

What’s more, they didn’t get a monster game from Alonzo Mourning in beating the Bulls. Zo turned in his usual strongman numbers of 19 points and 12 rebounds but made just 8-of-22 shots.

The funniest part to me, looking back, is how angry Zo was after the game. He couldn’t believe how many in the sellout crowd were cheering loudly for the visiting superstars from Chicago and actually looked forward to going on a road trip in a couple of days.

“I’m kind of happy we’re getting out of this city and away from these fans,” Zo said. “The fans here are so hypocritical, it’s ridiculous. It makes me sick.”

[Gators are a touchdown shy of college football’s per-game scoring average]

[Wondering if Dolphins’ No. 22 draft position is haunted]

[Steve Shepherd and ‘Dangerous Dave’ Lewter join Florida Boxing Hall of Fame]

For the record, the Bulls got their revenge, dismissing Miami 3-0 in the opening playoff round that year and going on to start a new string of three consecutive NBA championships.

Better remember these amazing nights when they come along, however. It’s why any game ticket could wind up being the one you keep forever.

 

Pat Riley talks Kevin Durant meeting, says it was “a longshot”

Riley believes in retrospect that the Heat weren't actually a contender to sign Kevin Durant. (Getty Images)
Riley believes in retrospect that the Heat weren’t actually a contender to sign Kevin Durant. (Getty Images)

The Heat angled every move over the past two years to keep open the possibility of recruiting Kevin Durant, but Pat Riley thinks in retrospect that there was little chance of luring him to Miami.

The Heat met with Durant in New York on July 3, the day before he chose to sign with Golden State. His decision reportedly came down to the Warriors and Thunder.
Continue reading “Pat Riley talks Kevin Durant meeting, says it was “a longshot””

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”

Report: Miami Heat to meet with Kevin Durant on Sunday

[cmg_cinesport url=”http://cinesport.palmbeachpost.com/embed/palm-beach-nba-miami-heat/predicting-kevin-durants-future/”%5D

Kevin Durant is ready to listen to free agency pitches and has scheduled meetings.

Kevin Durant reportedly will meet with Heat on Sunday. (Getty Images)
Kevin Durant reportedly will meet with Heat on Sunday. (Getty Images)

The Heat, according to ESPN, will get their sitdown with him Sunday in New York. That’s difficult timing for Miami, which plans to talk with free agent Hassan Whiteside the moment free agency opens Friday.

Durant will start his free agency process by meeting with his current team, the Thunder, in Oklahoma City on Thursday. From there, he is flying to New York and the rest of the teams will come to him. Here is the known schedule:
Continue reading “Report: Miami Heat to meet with Kevin Durant on Sunday”

Bovada gives Miami Heat 3rd-best odds of signing Kevin Durant

How crazy is Durant-to-the-Heat? Bovada says not that crazy. (Getty Images)
How crazy is Durant-to-the-Heat? Bovada says not that crazy. (Getty Images)

The Heat are days away from their long-awaited chance to pitch Kevin Durant on coming to Miami, a move that would instantly make this team a title contender, and not everyone thinks their dream is crazy.

Bovada put out odds on the destinations of three major free agents this morning: Durant, Dwight Howard and DeMar DeRozan. While the Heat don’t appear to be chasing the latter two, they are one of several teams making a run at Durant.
Continue reading “Bovada gives Miami Heat 3rd-best odds of signing Kevin Durant”

Could LeBron James ditch Cleveland again and return to Heat?

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

LeBron James just put on one of the greatest NBA Finals performances of all time, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 93-89 Game 7 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

The numbers are staggering:

But you know what would be even more staggering? If LeBron decided to leave Cleveland for a second time to return his talents to South Beach for another shot with close friend Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.

[cmg_cinesport url=”http://cinesport.palmbeachpost.com/embed/palm-beach-nba-miami-heat/schein-is-lebron-heading-south-if-cavs-win-title/”%5D

First off, James signed a two-year deal with the Cavs last summer, but the contract has a player option after the first year. So he could opt out and head south — or anywhere, for that matter, willing to pay him somewhere between $25-30 million a year.

Second, you could argue that in delivering the city’s first title since 1964, James has fulfilled whatever “obligation” he had to Cleveland. Most of those who were burning his jersey six years ago when he left are at this moment out celebrating an NBA championship.

“I came back to bring a championship to this city,” LeBron told Doris Burke after the game. “I gave it everything that I had. I put my heart and my blood and my sweat and my tears into this game. And against all odds … Cleveland, this is for you!”

So the 31-year-old Akron native likely feels like he has done his duty and could leave feeling good about what he and his team have been able to accomplish.

Finally, it’s clear LeBron still has plenty of fans in Miami-Dade County — some friends with significant influence.

Could Wade and the Heat’s ownership put together a compelling case (and contract) and lure King James back to South Florida?

Of course it’s unlikely, but wouldn’t it make for a fun offseason?