BROOKLYN (CBSMiami/AP) – An already rough season could be about to get even more difficult for the Miami Heat.
The injury-plagued Heat were blown out in their first game without Chris Bosh, who won’t travel to face the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.
Things could become all the more rocky if Dwyane Wade is also sidelined.
Wade is listed as questionable due to an illness, potentially leaving Miami without its two best players Tuesday night.
The Heat (11-13) were outscored 58-30 in the second and third quarters in Sunday’s 93-75 loss to Chicago, falling to 2-6 in December. Wade and Luol Deng scored 17 points apiece for Miami, which was limited to a season-worst 35.0 percent shooting with Bosh out due to a strained left calf.
“A guy like Chris is irreplaceable,” said Wade, who missed seven games earlier this season with a strained left hamstring. “All we ask for and hope for is he can get back as soon as he can when he’s healthy.”
It’s unclear how much time Bosh could miss. He’s averaging team highs of 21.6 points and 8.2 rebounds, while Wade is scoring 21.1 per game.
“It really (stinks) that it’s hitting me right now, it’s like there’s a dark cloud over everything,” Bosh said. “Everything seems to be tough, we’re having a tough time building the chemistry because we haven’t had many minutes together. In the midst of all that, everybody’s trying to figure everything out. So we just have to just stay strong and keep our head above water and try to figure out how to win some games.”
The news got worse Monday, when Josh McRoberts was diagnosed with a torn meniscus that has ended his season. Second-year center Justin Hamilton, who’s started the last three games, could also be held out with a quad injury.
“We’re just trying to find an identity, find some consistency with that in an inconsistent landscape,” a frustrated coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But who cares? That’s just the hand we’ve been dealt right now.”
The Heat pulled out a 95-83 victory at Brooklyn on Nov. 17 in the teams’ first meeting since Miami beat the Nets in five games in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals. Mario Chalmers led the way with 22 points in last month’s victory with Wade and Deng on the sidelines.
Brooklyn (10-12) has followed a three-game losing streak with back-to-back wins, 88-70 over Philadelphia on Friday and 114-87 at Charlotte on Saturday. Joe Johnson had 22 points to lead a season-high seven players in double figures for the Nets, who shot a season-best 58.3 percent.
Brooklyn hasn’t won three in a row since April 4-8.
Deron Williams had 18 points and registered 10 assists for the second straight game. Brooklyn finished with a season-high 29 assists while shooting 16 of 23 from 3-point range.
“That shows that we moving the ball a little better from side-to-side,” coach Lionel Hollins said.
While Johnson is averaging 19.1 points on the road, he’s averaging just 9.8 on 34.8 percent shooting over the last six home games. Williams has scored a combined 24 while shooting 6 of 30 in the last three there.
Williams has been limited to an average of 10.1 points and 35.0 percent over a 11-game stretch against the Heat, including playoffs.
All-Star center Brook Lopez is likely to miss his fifth straight game due to a back injury. He’s averaging 16.1 points, just behind Williams’ team-best mark of 16.5.
Wade is averaging 24.0 points on 63.0 percent shooting in his last five regular-season matchups in the series. The Heat are 18-5 against the Nets since 2009-10, including playoffs.
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