The Los Angeles Clippers face the Miami Heat in a game between two teams who are coming off losses against the two worst teams in the league. The Clippers are coming off a five point overtime loss to the Orlando Magic, while the Heat are coming off a 20 point decimation by the Detroit Pistons. The game is set to take place at 7:30 p.m. EST at FTX Arena.
The Clippers enter this game just above .500 at 14-12 and are currently slotted ninth in the Western Conference. Despite this, they are only three games back from first place in the conference. This division is incredibly close and a win over the Heat here can put them closer to the top. They must be motivated after the loss, especially because losing ground hurts them so much more with the closeness of the race.
The Heat fell to 11-14 after losing their last two games. Jimmy Butler was out in the loss to the Pistons, but there seems to be some real issues looming in Miami. Their scoring struggles continue and, against a Clippers defense that ranks near the top of the league, will not help.
How Los Angeles Can Win:
The Clippers don’t have much to worry about on defense, as they have locked down the vast majority of teams they have played. They have a top five defense efficiency and only are allowing 109.1 points per game this season. However, against the Heat, a good shot selection is key. In their last three games, they have only shot just 41% from the field. If Paul George can lead this way to pick it up, I see no reason why the Clippers cannot win.
How Miami Can Win:
The Heat need to get their record above .500 as soon as possible if they want a chance to stay in the playoff picture and not fall so far out of contention. There are a lot of mechanical issues they need to fix, but winning needs to be on the forefront of their minds. With the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs in their next four games, this is the perfect opportunity to build a win streak. This outcome of this matchup against the Clippers relies on the fate of Jimmy Butler. He needs to get back to being a consistent top option on the team to carry their scoring over. Butler coming back should help a team who shot just 42% from the field in their last matchup, and they are going to need a lot from him to secure a win.
Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers 112, Miami Heat 110
I expect this game to be close, but ultimately, I think the Clippers will do a better job to close this game and grab the win in Miami.