Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets Preview
The Heat make the journey to the Rocky Mountain state to take on the Denver Nuggets Monday evening. The Heat come into the matchup at the 25-28 mark, good for 8th place in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Nuggets come into the game at an impressive 37-18 and are currently 2nd in the Western Conference behind only the Golden State Warriors. At this point in the season, the Nuggets strong standing and impressive performance has almost guaranteed them a spot in the postseason. The Heat, however, must continue winning crucial games such as this one if they are to stay in the race for a playoff spot.
This is the second face-off between the two teams this season. The Nuggets won the previous matchup by a close score of 103-99. Nikola Jokic scored 29 points in the win and Torrey Craig added 16 rebounds of his own. On the Heat’s side, Dion Waiters knocked down 15 points and Hassan Whiteside added 10 rebounds in the loss. Monday nights showdown should be just as close. The Nuggets have home field advantage, but the Heat are certainly hungry for revenge and in dire need of a win to keep their playoff push alive.
Time: 9:00pm ET
Arena: Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
Channel: FSSUN, ALT
Miami Heat Starting Lineup
Across the world of sports, 25-28 is generally not considered a good record. A team below .500 in most scenarios is far from a postseason berth. Yet the dominance of the top 5 teams in the Eastern Conference has led the Miami Heat to the uncommon luxury of still having a good shot at the playoffs. The Heat come into the Monday night matchup in 8th place and are only 2 games behind the 6th place Brooklyn Nets.
Still, the Heat have been struggling recently: they are 4-6 in their last 10 and dropped their last game 102-96 to the Sacramento Kings. Josh Richardson knocked down 21 points and Hassan Whiteside grabbed 19 rebounds in the loss. Overall, the game was a bit of the letdown as the Heat seemed to control the game going into the second half but ended up blowing their lead later in the game.
The Heat’s defense comes into Monday night ranked 6th in the NBA. Look for big man Hassan Whiteside to dominate inside the arc defensively and bring down an upwards of 15 rebounds. However, the Heat as a team often struggle offensively. The dynamic of Mondays matchup should be interesting. But as many say, defense wins games. Will the Heat defense be strong enough to stop Denver’s offense power? Make sure to tune into this exciting showdown to see.
Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup
After barely missing out on the playoffs and finishing in 9th place in the West the last two seasons, the Denver Nuggets have come back in a big way in 2018-19. They’ve been holding strong at the top of the West throughout the season and are determined to make sure that the playoffs won’t escape the franchise for a third year straight. Yet in Monday night’s matchup, they look to end a 3-game skid that has pushed them 2.5 games out of first place behind Golden State.
In their last game, a 117-110 loss against Philadelphia, the Nuggets offense was present throughout the game. Jokic turned in a triple-double with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Yet, the defense struggled, resulting in the 76ers leading throughout almost the entire game.
The Nuggets are ranked 3rd in the NBA in overall offense but are middle of the pack on the defensive side, where they come in at 15th. If the Nuggets are to reclaim 1st place, the defense will need to step up to the same level the offense is currently at. There is no better time to do so than against a Heat team that is below .500 and ranks 23rd in offense.
Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets Betting Odds
The Nuggets come into Monday night’s matchup as the favorites. The over-under for the game is currently set at 217.5 and the predicted score is Nuggets 112 – Heat 105.26. The ATS for the Miami Heat is currently at 28-26 while the ATS for the Nuggets is set at 29-26. The current spread is set at Nuggets (-10) and Heat (10). With home court advantage, the Nuggets should have no problem controlling this one.
DraftKings & FanDuel Fantasy Picks
Find all of our Fanduel and Draftkings projections here: https://www.lineups.com/nba/nba-fantasy-basketball-projections.