The Miami Heat just keep plugging away. Fresh off an unexpected run to the NBA Finals last year as an 8th seed, Pat Riley’s club is once again looking to do more with less. This is especially true after losing some key rotation players from that Finals run and striking out on the Damian Lillard sweepstakes this summer, even though for a long moment there it felt as though Lillard-to-Miami was inevitable.
Instead, they’re back to the familiar formula, relying on the veteran talents of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, a rejuvenated Tyler Herro, and the wizardry that Erik Spoelstra brings to the head coaching chair. Whether or not they can reach the highs they did at the end of last season remain to be seen, but they’ll surely continue to be a tough out for anyone as long as Riley is pulling the strings behind the scenes and cultivating the legendary essence of, “Heat Culture.”
The Spurs, meanwhile, are trying to rebuild their own legendary culture with a cast of young hopefuls. Head coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t have the established vets on his roster to lean on and help pull these young guys along on the court like Spoelstra does, so the learning curve has been apparent through San Antonio’s first 8 games of the season. Still, there’s always some good to take away from the bad, and the disciplined Heat will provide these young Spurs a great challenge and role model.
San Antonio Spurs (3-6) vs Miami Heat (5-4)
November 12 2023 | 6:00 PM CT
Watch: BSSW | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: Tre Jones: Questionable (hamstring)
Heat Injuries: Caleb Martin: Out (Knee), Nikola Jovic: Questionable (Wrist), Jimmy Butler: Questionable (Knee), Tyler Herro: Out (Ankle), Jamal Cain: Questionable (Illness)
What to watch for
- Just 2 days after going against fellow French countrymen and former Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama now gets to go head to head with DPOY and All Defensive team candidate Bam Adebayo. Adebayo is at the heart of Miami’s switch-heavy defensive schemes, using his strength to match-up against big men and his quickness to bother guards and wings. For Wemby, Adebayo is another early measuring stick in a season that will have no shortage of them.
- The Spurs are catching a few breaks coming into this one. Miami is not only on a road SEGABABA, but they’re currently without point guard Tyler Herro. Herro, who suffered a Grade 2 ankle sprain 8 minutes into last Wednesday’s eventual Heat win over the Memphis Grizzlies, is leading the Heat in a variety of categories to start the year, including scoring, 3P%, and overall shot attempts.
- Jimmy Butler, who is a notoriously slow starter to the regular season, will probably be the guy that Miami will need to handle the majority of the playmaking with Herro out. The 34 year old vet may not get a ton of shots up every night, but he’s still incredibly adept at muscling his way into the paint and getting to the free throw line. San Antonio’s perimeter defenders would be wise not to fall for his pump-fake!
- Miami and San Antonio have both been mediocre on the boards this season, with marks of 43.3 RPG for Miami (19th) and 41 RPG for the Spurs (27th). The Spurs will definitely have the height advantage tonight, but rebounding isn’t all about height. San Antonio has been outrebounded in each of their last 4 games, all losses.
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