Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat take on Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets looking to even their regular-season series.
HOME TEAM: Denver Nuggets (43-22, 25-8 at home)
The hoopla for Denver right now is Bol Bol. The former Oregon Ducks star has been sensational in scrimmages in Disney World, playing like he’s the next best thing in Mile High City. In his first televised game, the son of former pro, Manute Bol, dropped 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and rejected six shots. That’s an incredible stat line, and that’s not even mentioning the fact that he also hit two triples. At 7-2, Bol’s skills are off the charts and could potentially form the league’s first unicorn tandem with Nikola Jokic.
Speaking of Jokic, the Serbian big man is hoping to have a much better performance in the rematch against Miami. Last November, Jokic produced just nine points in 23 minutes of action, though, the Nuggets didn’t really need him to stuff the stat sheet to defeat Miami, 109-89. Instead, it was Jamaal Murray who took over for Denver in that game, as he recorded 21 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
ROAD TEAM: Miami Heat (41-24, 14-19 on the road)
It’s a full house for Miami, as the Heat have their full roster inside the Orlando bubble. That’s a big plus for a team that had beautiful chemistry prior to the season getting suspended due to COVID-19 back in March. The Heat have gone 5-2 in their last seven games, including a win over the top team in the Eastern Conference, as they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks on March 3 at home, 105-89.
An efficient and unselfish offense has been key to the success of Miami. The Heat are fifth in the league with 26.0 assists per game and third with a 54.9 effective field goal percentage. They have been shooting the lights out from long distance, knocking down 38.3% of their three-point attempts. Surely, the Heat would like to test their accuracy from deep again against the Nuggets, who limited them to only 9-of-29 shooting from behind the arc in the first meeting.
The Heat won a lot of their games in South Beach and are only 14-19 on the road. With games now played in a neutral site, they could see some regression. In this game, the Nuggets will beat Miami, 107-102.