MIA: Chris Bosh, F: Luol Deng, F: Amar’e Stoudemire C; Dwyane Wade, G: Goran Dragic, G
CHA: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F: Marvin Williams, F: Cody Zeller, C: Nicholas Batum, G: Jeremy Lin, G
The surging Miami Heat are on the road again for a contest with fellow southeastern division foe the Charlotte Hornets Friday night. Since turning over to the New Year, the Miami Heat have been under a lot of scrutiny.
Looked upon as a fragile team because of the age and history of injuries to key players, they’ve been often overlooked. They were able to manage hiding their flaws behind an easy schedule to start the season mixed with playing a lopsided amount of games at home.
When 2016 came along, two separate road trips were on the horizon and the Heat began to struggle. Injuries came to the forefront and the inconsistent pieces on the roster were being exposed. They dropped to as far as 8th in the Eastern Conference but have recently begun to regain their footing.
Winners of five of the last six games, the Heat are trending upwards. They’ve recently gotten back Dragic and he has made an impact. Hassan Whiteside returned against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night and made his presence felt. Bosh and Wade both have been playing consistently better and leading this team like many had hoped they’d do. Wade was named Eastern Conference player of the week last week.
Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of why the Heat have been playing well is the insertion of Deng and Justise Winslow on the offense end. For the majority of the season, they’ve been asked to play without the ball in their hands. In more recent games, they’ve more active and involved in what is going on that end of the floor. It has made the game more fluent and pace better as well.
The last time these two teams played each other, the Heat traveled down to Charlotte in early December and lost 99-81. The Hornets are coming off an impressive win against the Cleveland Cavaliers in their last game. The most impressive part of that victory is they won without their leading scorer and best player Kemba Walker. He is questionable for the game this evening but if they played the team basketball they played last game tonight then that shouldn’t be a factor once again.