Two teams trending in the right direction will get a rematch tonight after LA was successful two weeks ago. Read on for a full Clippers vs Heat game preview.

Game Information

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles CA

Date:  Monday, February 15, 2021

Time: 7 p.m.

How to Watch: Fox Sports Prime Ticket, NBA TV

How to Listen:  AM 570 LA Sports

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers: Patrick Beverley — Reggie Jackson — Lou Williams — Nicolas Batum — Serge Ibaka

Heat:  Jimmy Butler – Kelly Olynyk – Bam Adebayo – Duncan Robinson – Kendrick Nunn

Injuries

Clippers: OUT — Paul George (foot). DAY-TO-DAY – Kawhi Leonard (leg contusion)

Heat: OUT – Avery Bradley (calf), Goran Dragic (ankle), Meyers Leonard (shoulder), Silva (hip). DAY-TO-DAY – Gabe Vincent (knee)

The Big Picture

The Miami Heat (11-15) visit the Staples Center Monday night to face the Los Angeles Clippers (20-8) for the second time this season. In the earlier outing (January 28), the Clippers fell behind by double digits early, but went on a 20-2 run in the third quarter to fuel a 109-105 comeback win.  Nicolas Batum (18 points) and Lou Williams (17 points) led the way for Los Angeles. Tyler Herro, who had just returned after missing seven games with neck spasms, dropped 19 points for Miami.  

Notably, both teams were significantly short-handed in that first match-up. The Clippers were without the dynamic duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George due to health and safety protocols, and spark plug Patrick Beverley was also out due to injury. The Heat were down seven, including Jimmy Butler, Avery Bradley, Goran Dragic, Moe Harkless, Meyers Leonard, Chris Silva and Andre Iguodala. Monday’s match-up should look different than January’s, with at least Beverley, Butler and Iguodala available, but Miami is still far from full capacity and, at the time of this post, it is unknown whether LA will have the benefit of either George or Leonard by tip-off.

The Heat enter Staples Center fresh off a 94-112 Saturday loss to the red-hot Utah Jazz, snapping a four game winning streak. The Clippers are on the tail end of a back-to-back, having played and soundly defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. Although many are looking right past Monday’s contest to LA’s much anticipated two game stretch against first place Utah later on Wednesday and Friday, the Clippers would be foolish to do the same. Miami boasts boast multiple players capable of double-figure performances and, despite Saturday’s loss, have been on a recent uptick. The Clippers need to put the Heat away early, and keep their foot on the gas if they want to ensure a victory.

The Antagonist

The Heat have a fairly successful history against the Clippers. The franchise is 36-28 all-time versus LA during the regular season, including 19-13 in home games and 17-15 in road games. 

This season the Heat have had a surprisingly slow start after representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals in last year’s bubble. Injury has been a major factor. The Heat are averaging a disappointing 106.2 points per game (27th of 30) and have an offensive rating of 106.9 (25th of 30). Miami currently sits in 9th place in the Eastern Conference with a concerning record of 11-15.

This 48 minute contest should end up with mark in the win column for Los Angeles, but Miami is a solid team that has not yet played up to its potential and as everyone knows, the NBA is anything but predictable.

Notes

  • To be the best, you must be able to handle the worst… Miami is the worst in the NBA in numerous key categories this season, including  offensive rebounding (7 per game), turnovers (16.8 per game) and field goals attempted and made (82.1 / 37.8 per game).  The Clippers should be able to exploit these issues by focusing on pace and transition offense.  
  • The Clippers’ sharp shooters should excel against the Heat’s anemic perimeter defense. The Heat have been fairly solid defending the rim this season but have allowed opponents to make 15.1 shots per game from behind the arc. This favors the Clippers, who attempt 34.3 three-point shots per game and rank first in three-point shot percentage (42.2 percent). Paul George, Nicolas Batum, Patrick Beverley, Marcus Morris and Luke Kennard all average over 40 percent from long, while Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka, Lou Williams, and Patrick Patterson hit a respectable 38-39 percent. Advantage, Clippers.  
  • Depth matters, and the Clippers have it. Kawhi Leonard was a last minute scratch for Sunday’s game against the Cavaliers, joining Paul George on the injured list. The absence of both of the Clippers’ superstars, who collectively average 51 points per game, did not phase the rest of the team. At all. As Lou Williams told Kristina Pink post-game “We don’t want to look like we’re scrubs without them!” Indeed. The Clippers put on a fantastic display, handling Cleveland with ease (128-111). Williams was absolutely spectacular, finishing with 30 points and 10 assists. Serge Ibaka had arguably his best game in a Clippers uniform, serving up 21 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks. Marcus Morris also excelled, contributing 23 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal. Patrick Beverley was also a factor, with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Luke Kennard (12 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists) and Reggie Jackson (8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals) also deserve a mention. A TOTAL TEAM EFFORT. The Clippers are, and will continue to be, an extremely difficult team to beat with this type of talent and depth.
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