Miami Heat (41-24) vs. Denver Nuggets (43-22)
NBA: Saturday, August 1, 2020, HP Field House, Orlando, FL, 1:00 PM ET
Two teams looking to strengthen their playoff position square off when the Miami Heat take on the Denver Nuggets. The Heat are currently in fourth place in the East, 2.5 games behind the Boston Celtics. They have already secured a playoff spot. Denver has also secured a playoff spot. They are in the third in the West, a game behind the L.A. Clippers.
Recap of the Miami HeatThe Miami Heat were the most surprising team in the NBA this season. This was a team that very little was expected from, but Jimmy Butler had this group playing a great brand of basketball as he led them to fourth place prior to the pandemic. Bam Adebayo became an all-star and the team was getting great contributions from Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, and Kendrick Nunn.
What NBA fans have learned this season is that head coach Erik Spoelstra is a really good coach. When most think of the Heat championship, they think of how Lebron James was the reason the team won, but Spoelstra is proving that he is one of the brightest young minds in the game. The offense he has implemented has been innovative and he is using his bench like a maestro conducts a symphony. The Heat are 15th in scoring (112.2 ppg) and are playing quality defense as well, ranked 11th in the league (108.9).
Miami is led by Butler averaging 20.2 ppg, but this is a deep team when it comes to scoring. Eight different players are averaging better than 11.0 ppg, with Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic both averaging better than 16.0 per game. Adebayo has been a monster on the boards as well, averaging 10.5 boards per game, eighth in the NBA.
Recap of the Denver NuggetsIt was déjà vu all over again for the Denver Nuggets as they were on pace to win 54 games for the second year in a row. That was until the pandemic put the NBA season on hold. It was not surprising that they were headed for the same result considering that they had the least roster turnover of any team in the league. That consistency has spread across the team as they are averaging less than one point less than last season. They have also been one of the best teams in closer contests, going 26-14 in clutch games.
This is one of the few NBA teams who can beat any team on any given night. They join Boston and Philadelphia in beating the top teams in both conferences. The only thing that seems to be in the way of Denver making a big run is that this team is mediocre offensively, ranked 20th in the league at 110.4 ppg. They make up for this defensively, allowing 107.4 ppg, tied for fifth in the NBA.
Nikola Jokic was leading the team in scoring, averaging 20.2 ppg. He is an all-around performer, corralling 10.2 rebounds per game while also averaging 6.9 assists per contest. Those are impressive numbers, but the last thing a team wants is for their center to be leading the team in assists. That should fall on point guard Jamal Murray, who is averaging 18.8 ppg, but only 4.8 apg.
- 10-3-2 ATS in their last 15 games following a loss.
- 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against teams who have a winning percentage greater than .600.
- 10-4 ATS in last 14 meetings against Miami at home.
- 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games.
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games on the road against a team with a winning record at home.