Wednesday, December 6, 2023
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NBA Preview: Brooklyn Nets (1-2) at Miami Heat (1-3)

There’s no panic in Miami.

But there is a sense of urgency.

The Heat, who have lost three straight games — all on the road — are set to return home on Wednesday night to face the Brooklyn Nets. It opens a three-game homestand that also includes the Washington Wizards and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Miami’s two-time All-Star center Bam Adebayo missed Monday’s 122-114 loss at the Milwaukee Bucks due to a bruised hip.

Heat role players Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith have yet to play this season due to knee injuries.

As for the Heat’s three stars, Tyler Herro leads the team in scoring (25.3), Adebayo is second (22.7), and Jimmy Butler is third (15.3).

Herro, who was the subject of trade rumors for most of the offseason, had 35 points and eight rebounds against the Bucks.

Spoelstra is also happy with first-round pick Jaime Jaquez Jr., a 6-7 forward who is averaging 5.3 points in 17 minutes.

Meanwhile, the Nets are led by Cam Thomas, who is averaging 33.0 points. Entering Tuesday, his scoring average ranked fourth in the NBA, trailing only Stephen Curry (33.5), Donovan Mitchell (35.0 in only two games) and Luka Doncic (39.0).

Thomas was the 27th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft out of LSU. He flashed his scoring potential last season when he became the league’s second-youngest player to post consecutive 40-point games, trailing only LeBron James.

Perspective is required as Thomas has played just three games this season. Still, he has long had a reputation as a scorer, and he is making 61.4 percent of his shots from the floor, which is absurd for a guard who is a high-volume shooter.

Dinwiddie, however, suffered a sprained ankle and left Monday’s 133-121 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

The Nets played that game without two starters: center Nic Claxton (ankle) and forward Cameron Johnson (calf).

Without their top big men, the Nets have gone to a small-ball lineup.

For size, the Nets on Monday started 6-6 Mikal Bridges, 6-7 Dorian Finney-Smith and 6-10 point guard Ben Simmons. Brooklyn still managed to outrebound Charlotte 46-39. The Nets spread the floor and shot the ball exceptionally well at 56.3 percent.

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