The Miami Heat will look to go 2-0 this season against the Charlotte Hornets, though a lot has happened since these two teams last shared the court. Will the Heat torch Charlotte for the second time around? Or, will the Hornets sting Miami at home?
Catch this game live on Sunday, February 6, at 8 AM Manila time.
Away: Miami Heat (33-20/13-13 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Kyle Lowry
- SG: Duncan Robinson
- SF: Jimmy Butler (probable)
- PF: PJ Tucker
- C: Bam Adebayo
The Heat welcomed back Kyle Lowry last Friday and notched a 112-95 win on the road against the San Antonio Spurs to end a three-game slump. However, Lowry, playing for the first time after missing nine games, didn’t look too good in that game, as he scored just two points and committed six turnovers in 25 minutes on the floor. Perhaps that was just rust on the part of the veteran guard and he should perform better this Sunday versus the Hornets. Having Lowry back also gives Miami the option to run its top-tier starting unit again.
When the Heat defeated Charlotte in South Beach way back in October, the duo of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo carved up the Hornets’ defense for a combined output of 58 points and 29 rebounds. Miami’s defense and rebounding are keys to success for the team against the high-scoring Hornets, who shot just 38.9 FG% and were a whopping -23 in the rebounding department in the first meeting with the Heat. Butler is listed as probable for Sunday’s game, but he should be fine after scoring 17 points in 25 minutes against the Spurs. Miami is 2-0 straight up and against the spread in its last two games versus the Hornets.
Home: Charlotte Hornets (28-25/14-9 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: LaMelo Ball
- SG: Terry Rozier
- SF: Gordon Hayward
- PF: Miles Bridges
- C: Mason Plumlee
Another game, another defeat for the Hornets, who got sprayed with a gut-wrenching 102-101 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday at home. The Hornets have now lost all of their last three games. Their offense has slowed down of late. Although they are averaging 114.1 points per game, the Hornets have generated only 99.3 points on a salty 38.6 percent shooting from the field and 29.1 percent from deep in their last three games, part of which is because Gordon Hayward missed two of those contests.
Hayward, however, has returned to action against Cleveland, finishing with only seven points on a horrible 3/13 shooting. He could get his rhythm back this Sunday opposite the Heat, against whom he scored 23 points and shot 5/8 from behind the arc in the initial showdown with Miami. Charlotte has some young legs that love to run, as evidenced by its average of 16.2 fastbreak points per game, so Mason Plumlee will have to keep up with Miami’s rebounding to spark the Hornets’ transition attack. Plumlee had eight points and 11 rebounds against the Cavs. The total has hit the Under is seven of the Hornets’ last 10 games as the home team.
Spread: It’s always tricky when it comes to Butler’s playing availability, so keep a close eye on that before the game. Under the current circumstances, taking the Heat at -3.5 seems okay.
Over/Under: Taking the Under (224.0) here simply because the Heat have what it takes to slow down the Hornets and play according to Miami’s tempo.