GAME PREVIEW: Heat travel to New York to face red hot Knicks

Heat Knicks
(Eric Espada/Getty Images)

Rise and shine! The Miami Heat, who are in the midst of a five-game losing streak, will head up north to The Big Apple to take on the scorching-hot New York Knicks Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. EST inside Madison Square Garden.

The Heat have lost five straight … which could have been a six-game losing streak if it did not complete a 16-point comeback victory against the Brooklyn Nets on Jan. 15.

Over that six-game stretch, Miami sports a league-worst minus-16.2 NET Rating–nearly four points per 100 possessions worse than the next-worst team (Milwaukee Bucks — minus-12.3)–with an NBA-worst 103.2 offensive rating, 5.9 points worse than the next-worst (Grizzlies — 109.2), according to Cleaning The Glass. Since the turn of the calendar, the Heat have the No. 28 offense and NET Rating while owning the 10th-best defense–even after Friday’s 33-point blowout loss to the Boston Celtics.

New York traded for OG Anunoby in late December in a five-player swap for Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett. The transaction has worked wonders for the Knicks so far. Since the New Year, they’ve had the league’s second-best defense in non-garbage-time possessions, owning a 104.5 defensive rating after sporting the 19th-best defense beforehand (116.6).

Over New York’s last seven games, it’s allowed just one team (Magic) to score north of 112.0 points per 100 possessions; for comparison, the Heat have scored at least 112.0 points per 100 possessions twice over that same span, including 113.3 per 100 on Thursday, per CTG.

The Knicks have won 10 of their last 12 games, including five straight wins over the Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets and Denver Nuggets, respectively. Their win against Denver came by 38 points, limiting the reigning champions to a season-low 84 points on just 40.5 percent shooting and 5-of-26 from 3-point range.

The Heat are still acclimating Terry Rozier, who they acquired from Charlotte earlier this week, into the offense. He’s tallied 16 points, six rebounds, eight assists and three steals on 6-of-21 (28.6 percent) shooting in 58 minutes. They will also get Jaime Jaquez, who missed the last six games due to injury, back on Saturday, though it’s undetermined whether or not he will be on a minutes restriction or not.

Miami is 24-21 in the standings, 1.5 games behind the Indiana Pacers for the No. 6 seed; New York’s hot streak has boosted them to 28-17, tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the No. 4 seed and two games behind the Philadelphia 76ers for a top-3 seed.

Will both teams’ trends continue? Or can the Heat get back on track in one of basketball’s most famous arenas Saturday? We’ll have to wait and see.

Injury Report (at the time of this publishing):

Miami Heat:

  • R.J. Hampton (abdomen) — QUESTIONABLE
  • Dru Smith (knee) — OUT

New York Knicks:

  • Isaiah Hartenstein (achilles) — QUESTIONABLE
  • Mitchell Robinson (ankle) — OUT

Projected Starting 5:

Miami Heat:

  • Terry Rozier, G
  • Tyler Herro, G
  • Jimmy Butler, F
  • Haywood Highsmith, F
  • Bam Adebayo, C

New York Knicks

  • Jalen Brunson, G
  • Donte DiVincenzo, G
  • OG Anunoby, F
  • Julius Randle, F
  • Isaiah Hartenstein, C (if he plays)

Betting Lines (at the time of this publishing):

  • Spread: Knicks -4
  • O/U: 218.5
  • Moneyline: Knicks -174, Heat +146

Check out those lines and more at Fanduel Sportsbook!

Broadcast Info:

  • Tipoff: 3:00 p.m. EST
  • TV: ABC
  • Radio: AM 560 Sports WQAM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson)
  • Spanish Radio: WAQI 710 AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)

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