MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Despite missing some of the main characters, Wednesday’s matchup between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs promises to be entertaining.
Even before facing off in consecutive NBA Finals’ back in 2013 and 2014, the Heat and Spurs have shared a rivalry kept fresh thanks to talented players and outstanding coaching.
Unfortunately for Miami, it’s been mostly one-sided over the past few years, but that could change this season.
Both teams are expected to be in the playoffs, though a Finals rematch would be shocking to most of the basketball world.
San Antonio could be the fourth best team in the tough Western Conference while Miami is viewed more as a five or six seed in the East.
Some things must be kept in mind though.
Things like it never being a good idea to count out a Greg Popovich team, or dismissing the Heat, which was the NBA’s best team during the second half of last season.
Now to the bad news.
Miami is expected to be without star center Hassan Whiteside, who is nursing a bone bruise on his left knee, for the third straight game.
The Spurs have yet to feature Tony Parker (quad) or Kawhi Leonard (quad) on the floor this season but have seen the slack picked up by others on the roster.
LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 24.3 points and 9.3 rebounds to help make up for Leonard’s absence while the surprising play of second year point guard Dejounte Murray is more than compensating for the loss of Parker.
- San Antonio has won nine straight against the Heat, including Game’s 3, 4 and 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals.
- Spurs swingman Danny Green had 5 blocks in a win over Toronto on Monday and has 7 in just three games this season.
- Miami’s starting backcourt of Goran Dragic (thigh) and Dion Waiters (ankle) sat out Tuesday’s practice but both are expected to play Wednesday.
- The Heat are 2-0 so far on their current six-game homestand that still features games against Boston and Minnesota.