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The Miami Heat will travel to the Barclays Center on Saturday night to take on the Brooklyn Nets in a possible playoff preview. The Heat are 6-7 and will be coming off a game against the Toronto Raptors on Friday night. The Nets are 9-7 and will be coming off a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night as well. These teams are expected to be some of the best in the Eastern Conference so it’ll be interesting to see what happens when they collide.
The defenses haven’t been worldbeaters this season so it’ll be interesting to see what team will have the ability to get a few key stops down the stretch. Let’s take a deeper dive into this game and figure out where we should be placing our wagers.
Center of Attention
The Miami Heat have been relying on center Bam Adebayo to carry the offensive load this season. He is averaging 19 points, 9.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 0.9 steals in 31.5 minutes on the court. He is shooting the ball at a great clip with his limited range as he is 62 percent from the floor and 85.5 percent from the free-throw line. In his last game against the Raptors, Adebayo played 34 minutes and finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists. If he can figure out a way to have a similar game in this matchup, he will thrive in this matchup as the Nets struggle against big men.
The Brooklyn Nets have been one of the worst defenses to begin the year as they are giving up 115.8 points per game, which is 25th in the league. In their first game against the Cavaliers, they allowed 147 points on 56-of-109 (51.4 percent) from the floor, 20-of-40 (50 percent) from beyond the arc, and 21 free-throw attempts. If they can figure out how to limit the amount of open shots from the field being taken against them, scary hours will be in full effect.
Welcome Back Mr. Irving
The Brooklyn Nets have been relying on point guard Kyrie Irving to help carry the offensive load this season. He is averaging 28.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 0.6 blocks, and 1.5 steals in 34.9 minutes on the court. He is shooting the ball well as he is 50.9 percent from the floor, 42 percent from beyond the arc, and 96.3 percent from the charity stripe. In his first game back from his personal issues against the Cavaliers, Irving played 48 minutes and finished with 37 points, two rebounds, three assists, three blocks, a steal, and four turnovers. If he can figure out a way to have similar production in this matchup with a cleaner game, he will thrive.
The Miami Heat have been a below-average defense to begin the year as they are giving up 112.9 points per game, which is 22nd in the league. In their first game against the Raptors, they allowed 102 points on 35-of-88 (39.8 percent) from the floor, 16-of-49 (32.7 percent) from beyond the arc, and 18 free-throw attempts. If they can figure out how to limit the amount of open three-point shots being taken against them, they will be an even scarier defense than they already are.
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Nets have been the better team this season and Kevin Durant will play in the second leg of the back-to-back. Brooklyn has the scoring threats of Kyrie Irving and James Harden still and Miami doesn’t play superb defense. Bam Adebayo should be able to play well in this game but Brooklyn has the deeper talent pool with Kyrie Irving or James Harden guarding Jimmy Butler. Go with the Brooklyn Nets in this game to pick up the victory.
Full-Game Total Pick
Let’s take a deeper dive into the offensive numbers for these teams. The Heat are averaging 110.3 points per game on 48.6 percent from the floor while the Nets are averaging 120.3 points per game on 49.1 percent from the floor. Both teams have been extremely effective shooting the ball this season. The Nets have been scoring the ball incredibly well since the James Harden trade as they are averaging 127.3 points per game since then. Go with the OVER in this game as the oddsmakers are going to be hesitant to make the total too high.