WHO: Golden State Warriors (39 - 15) vs Miami Heat (25 - 28)
WHEN: Sunday, February 10th, 2019; 5:30 pm
WHERE: Oracle Arena -- Oakland, CA
LISTEN: 95.7 the game
BLOG BUDDY: Hot Hot Hoops
Where are the Heat going?
The Miami Heat have been directionless for years, stuck in mediocrity in the middle of the Eastern Conference. They have a few promising young pieces, such as Bam Adebayo, Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson, all of whom are good defenders and have shown some offensive promise. But it’s hard to see All-Star potential in them. The team is saddled with overpaid role players like Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters and James Johnson; is hosting farewell tours for Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem; and weirdly has one of the deepest benches in the league.
This hodgepodge of role players makes for a tough regular season squad. They play Erik Spoelstra’s defensive scheme well, boasting the sixth-best defense in the league. The problem for the team is that their lack of high-end talent is exposed against the very best teams, and if they make the playoffs they won’t be able to hang with the stacked top teams in the East. Given their sticky cap situation, they don’t have many ways to either improve or tank for a good lottery pick. GM Pat Riley has some important decisions to make in the coming seasons, assuming he chooses to stick around.
What should the Warriors expect?
The Heat play a throwback style -- they play at a slow pace and have a tough defense. Their offense struggles due to a lack of elite playmakers, and they currently average the least number of points per game in the league. They can be difficult to put away due to their depth and can stick with teams who have weaker bench units. But the Warrior simply have too much star talent, and as long as they play disciplined, they’ll win easily.
The Warriors start off slow but figure it out in the third quarter. Kevin Durant has a big game, and the Warriors win by 11.