MIAMI HEAT (27-9)
at BROOKLYN NETS (14-21)
Tip-off: Friday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: Miami -5, Total: 194.5
The Nets will be looking for their fifth straight victory when they host the Heat on Friday night.
Brooklyn has been below average in all facets of the game, averaging 96.5 PPG (21st in NBA) while allowing 101.0 PPG (20th in NBA). Over its current four-game win streak though, the club is allowing a meager 89.8 PPG on 42.7% FG. The Heat dropped their last game on Thursday to the Knicks, 102-92, but they are allowing just 98.0 PPG (7th in NBA) while scoring 104.5 PPG (7th in NBA). In the first meeting between these teams this season on Nov. 1, Brooklyn won 101-100 as a 4-point home underdog, which ended a 13-game SU win streak (10-3 ATS) in the series for Miami. This season, the Heat are just 16-20 ATS overall and 9-8 ATS on the road. The Nets have also been a losing wager at 16-19 ATS, while going exactly .500 at home both SU and ATS (9-9). But both teams have favorable betting trends for this matchup. In the past two seasons, the Heat are 17-6 ATS (74%) when revenging a same-season loss versus an opponent. The Nets, however, are 22-11 ATS (67%) after 2+ straight wins in this same timeframe. But they will be missing star PG Deron Williams (ankle) for at least the next two games. Miami will also be without its starting floor general, PG Mario Chalmers (Achilles), and SF Shane Battier (quad) is also expected to miss Friday's game.
Will the Heat bounce back from a loss with a convincing win over a red-hot Nets team? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The five experts are sizzling on NBA Best Bets since the start of December, going 61% ATS (83-53-1) including 64% ATS (57-32-1) since Dec. 16. StatFox Zach has a huge 74% ATS mark (20-7-1) since Dec. 1 and is currently 60% ATS (31-21-1) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Dave has an excellent 68% ATS (19-9) Best Bets record since Dec. 1 and is 56% ATS (29-23) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Scott is 68% ATS (13-6) in Best Bets since Dec. 16, while StatFox Gary is 65% ATS (11-6) in this same timeframe. Since Dec. 12, StatFox Brian has a 58% ATS (11-8) Best Bets record.
The Heat lost Thursday to the Knicks on a night where PF Chris Bosh (15.6 PPG, 6.6 RPG) was nearly invisible on the offensive end with six points on 3-of-10 FG. Over the past three games, Bosh is averaging just 8.7 PPG (31% FG), but has pulled down 9.7 RPG. Against a small Brooklyn lineup, the Heat will need him continue to hit the glass. SF LeBron James (25.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 6.5 APG) is playing like an MVP yet again this season and he should have his way in a matchup that will likely be against Paul Pierce. In the first meeting between these teams this season, James had 26 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the loss. James also has 30+ points in each of his past three games, where he's made 37-of-57 shots (65% FG). SG Dwyane Wade (19.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 4.8 APG) had 21 points, five rebounds and four assists in that November loss to Brooklyn, and he has been playing extremely well recently with 20.2 PPG (55% FG), 6.2 RPG and 4.4 APG in his past five games. Wade will need to do a solid job on both ends as he will be going up against Joe Johnson who holds a three-inch height advantage. With PG Mario Chalmers (9.3 PPG, 5.1 APG) out of the lineup, PG Norris Cole (7.3 PPG, 3.0 APG) will need to step up his game and take advantage of a Nets team that will be without Deron Williams. Cole is averaging 10.5 PPG, but just 2.0 APG, over the past two contests as a starter.
PG Deron Williams (13.6 PPG, 6.9 APG) is out for the Nets, but they didnít need him in a 102-98 victory over the Warriors on Wednesday night. SG Joe Johnson (15.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG) scored 27 points in 37 minutes in the win, and he will need to at least match the production of Dwyane Wade in this game. Johnson had a team-high-tying 19 points on 6-of-8 FG in the Nov. 1 win over Miami. SF Paul Pierce (12.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG), who also had 19 points with six assists and five rebounds in that win over Miami, will need to defend LeBron James while also contributing as a small-ball power forward. Both teams are well below-average in rebounding, but Brooklyn dominated the glass in that Nov. 1 victory with a 40 to 30 rebounding margin, allowing just four offensive boards for Miami. PG Shaun Livingston (7.0 PPG, 3.2 APG) will be the primary ball handler for the Nets until Deron Williams returns and in the past two games without Williams, Livingston is averaging 12.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 3.5 SPG, but only 1.0 APG. However, he hasn't committed a turnover in this 69-minute span. His length should help disrupt the Heat when they go to a big lineup that features LeBron James as the point guard.