The Miami Heat take on the Charlotte Hornets from the Spectrum Center with tip-off scheduled for 7pm EST. Miami comes into this game with a record of 37-21 and have won six of their last ten games overall. They are 18-14 away from the comfort of South Beach and will be looking to start another win streak. As for the Hornets they come in with a record of 29-30 and have dropped their last two games. They have lost eight of their last ten games overall and have fallen in the Eastern Conference standings. They are 14-13 at home this season and currently are the ninth seed in the conference. These two teams have met twice already this season with the Heat taking both games. Miami is currently on a four-game road winning streak and will be looking to keep that going as they enter the All-Star break. Forward Gordon Hayward remains out for the Hornets while Victor Oladipo and Tyler Herro are out for the Heat. The Hornets have gone 5-6 against division opponents while Miami is 10-2 against opponents in the Southeast Division.
How Miami can win: Over the last ten games, the Heat have averaged 110.2 points, 45.9 rebounds, 25.2 assists, 8.7 steals, and 2.9 blocks per game while shooting 46.1 percent from the field. They have held opponents to 106.6 points per game in this stretch as well. They’ll need to key in on LaMelo Ball and make sure he doesn’t get into a groove early on in the game.
The Heat have been at the top of the East all season even with many injuries to their roster. Led by Jimmy Butler, this team plays hard every time out and seems to play for each other. Butler has averaged 21.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.9 assists this season while shooting 49 percent from the field. He has been the leader of this Miami squad and continues to shine for them. His ability to drive to the rim while also having a nice midrange jump shot has made life for opposing defenses tough. With him, the Hornets will need to key in on guard Kyle Lowry who has averaged 13 points and eight assists per game this year but still can go off any given night. This duo gives Miami a lethal offense and combined with their defense has helped them to be one of the best teams in the NBA.
How Charlotte can win: Charlotte is averaging 109.0 points, 48.9 rebounds, 26.6 assists, 8.4 steals and 3.8 blocks per game while shooting 42.7 percent from the field. They have held opponents to 115.5 points on average over these last ten games. The key in this game will be the defense for the Hornets as they look to stop Miami. Containing players like Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry will be keys for Charlotte as they look to gain some momentum going into the All-Star break.
It starts and ends with guard LaMelo Ball for the Hornets as he is the big piece for their team. He has averaged 20.2 points, seven rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game this season while shooting 42.5 percent from the floor. His ability to make plays for his teammates allows this Hornets offense to thrive at times. Alongside him is forward Miles Bridges who has had a really good season thus far and will likely be matched up with Jimmy Butler. As a team, the Hornets rank ninth in the league shooting from beyond the three-point line, shooting 35.8 percent. If they can get some easy shot opportunities against this Miami defense, they could be in line for a home victory.
The Spread Via FanDuel:
Moneyline: MIA: (-198) | CHA: (+166)
Spread: MIA: -5 (-110) | CHA: +5 (-110)
Final Prediction: Miami Heat 122 Charlotte Hornets 110
–Charlotte has been on the down spiral of late and Miami remains one of the best teams in the league. Give me the Heat to take another road victory and go into the All-Star break as a top seed in the Eastern Conference.