The Miami Heat finish their brief preseason home stand against a solid Washington Wizards team, which will fight the Heat for a top-4 playoff spot during the regular season. New additions for the Wizards include Jodie Meeks, Carrick Felix, Donald Sloan, Mike Scott, and Florida forward Devin Robinson in a two-way contract. Markieff Morris (sports hernia), Tim Frazier (groin) and Robinson (foot) won’t be available for this game. The Wizards visit AA Arena with a perfect record of 3-0 in preseason contests.
Coming off a resurgent effort, in their previous game on offense, but a disappointing one on defense, coach Erik Spoelstra faces extremely tough choices to make on the fringes of the roster in just two games. How will he handle minutes for players outside the rotation? Who will be the other player on a two-way contract? Who will be the starting wings once Goran Dragic returns?
Currently at least 4 players, Rodney McGruder, Josh Richardson, Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson could start as forwards. The opening night lineup will change as Spo makes adjustments during the season when circumstances demand them. Best news for the Heat is the health of the players, because last year Chris Bosh, Josh McRoberts, Josh Richardson, and Wayne Ellington were out before the season even began.
Against the Wizards we’ll get an idea on the favorites to start and whether he’ll go with a traditional 8-man rotation or deeper into the bench with 4 subs on the floor at one time. He’ll probably always have one starter on floor at all times (except garbage minutes).
Going into the game, some issues are: FT%, 62.5% versus Wizards 75.9%; 3PT%, 28.7% vs 36.6%; FG%, 42.6% vs 49.8%; AST, 19.5 vs 24.0; OPP REB, 50.3 vs 36.7. The figures don’t count now, but only two games remain to fix the problems, if the Heat want more than barely making the playoffs.
Here’s everything you need to know:
TIME: 7:30 PM EST
RADIO: 790 AM, 106.3 FM
WHERE: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
Miami — Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, Rodney McGruder, Kelly Olynyk, Hassan Whiteside
Washington — John Wall, Bradley Beal, Kelly Oubre Jr, Otto Porter Jr, Marcin Gortat
See you at game time in our GameThread and voice your opinions once the action starts at 7:38 pm.