The Clippers’ road trip is finally starting to wind down, but first the Clippers need to navigate both a talented Heat team and the Miami nightlife.

Game Information

Where: Kaseya Center, Miami, Florida

When: 3:00 PM PT

How to Watch: ESPN, Watch ESPN, AM 570

Tickets: For great deals on Clippers tickets, check out Barry’s Tickets!

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers: James Harden – Paul George – Terance Mann – Kawhi Leonard – Mason Plumlee

Heat: Terry Rozier – Tyler Herro – Jimmy Butler – Haywood Highsmith – Bam Adebayo


Clippers: Ivica Zubac Questionable (Calf), Moussa Diabate Out (Hand)

Heat: Duncan Robinson Doubtful (Concussion), Dru Smith Out (Knee)

The Big Picture

The Clippers haven’t played great on their extended Grammy’s road trip so far outside of the Celtics game, but are nonetheless 4-1 thanks mostly to pure talent. They will take that, as it guarantees an over .500 record on this long and taxing stretch of the season. They are also still keeping pace with the top of the West, and are tied in the loss column with the Wolves and Thunder though they are a couple wins back. Fortunately for the older Clippers, the end of the road trip is in sight, and the All Star Break is not much farther, which will be huge for the team, in particular James Harden. Hopefully they can close this last leg of the road trip in good fashion and get out with a 6-1 or 5-2 record.

The Antagonist

The Heat have had an odd season. They started out a miserable 1-4 before turning things around with an eight-game winning streak. They then went around .500 for much of the rest of the season before losing seven games in a row over the second half of January. They’ve now won two in a row, putting them at 26-23 and in 7th in the East. When you boil it all down, they’re a thoroughly mediocre team that’s probably won more games than they should have, as they are 18th in Net Rating (-0.8) with a very poor offense (22nd) and an only decent defense (13th). They have a lot of talent and Erik Spoelstra is probably the best coach in the NBA, but something has been off for them this year.


Return of the Zu: Yesterday evening Ivica Zubac was updated to “Questionable”, which is a great sign. Even if he doesn’t play against the Heat, maybe he does against the Hawks on Monday. When Zu does return, something to monitor will be the backup big situation – does Theis stay in that role, or will Plumlee get a crack at it?

Scary Terry: The Heat’s trade for “Scary” Terry Rozier was lauded, yet Rozier has been frigid for the Heat, shooting 30.9% from the field, 25.9% from three, and scoring just 10.8 points per game. He’s too good a scorer and shooter to keep playing like this, which means a breakout is coming. The Clippers just need to make sure that that breakout doesn’t happen against them. Stay tight on his threes, force him into tough midrangers, and don’t put him at the line where he could get a rhythm going. Terry can win games on his own when he gets going, so hopefully the Clippers can keep him under control in this one.

Defeating the Nightlife: The Clippers got into Miami late Friday night, which means they will have been there all day Saturday and had the opportunity to go out Saturday night. Now, this game is 6:00 PM ET, so the chances of a hangover-ridden effort might be lower than a noon game, but still, it would not be shocking if the Clippers came out slow in this one.

Preparing for Monday: While the Heat and Hawks are not as good as the Celtics and Cavs, they are the last two games of the road trip and on a back to back, making decisions on minutes and playing time difficult. If this game is close, should Ty Lue go all out to chase the win and then sit key starters against the Hawks? If the Clippers go down big early, does Ty throw in the towel to keep minutes low to play those starters in Atlanta? Will Paul George play in both games or just one? And if so, which one? It will be interesting to see how these decisions play out in this one, and if the Clippers are transparent in how this game will inform their decisions in Atlanta.

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