The Miami Heat are in a tight race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and they can’t afford to lose any more games. Miami will travel North to take on the disappointing Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night in what will be a must-win game. The Timberwolves have struggled for much of the season, but they still have plenty of talent.
Miami comes into this game having lost back-to-back games to the Boston Celtics, and it has knocked them into 9th place in the East. The Heat bring a 38-40 record into this game and trail the Orlando Magic by .5 game for the final playoff spot. Minnesota has been eliminated from the playoff race for a long time, and are just 35-43 on the season. The Heat are a slight -2.0 point favorite in this game.
Heat Getting Healthy Just in Time
The Miami Heat had three players return to the lineup earlier this week, and they are desperately needed. Shooting guard Josh Richardson was one of the players who returned, and he is the Heat leading scorer this season. Richardson is pouring in 16.6 points per game but did look rusty in his return. Justise Winslow and Rodney McGruder are also available again for Miami and will play a factor in this game.
Miami is averaging just 105.6 points per game this season, which is one of the lowest marks in the NBA. The Heat have been a terrific defensive team this season, and that is the main reason that they are still in the race. Miami is allowing just 105.7 points per game, which is the third best in the league. Center Hassan Whiteside is averaging two blocks per game and will have to be great in this game.
Towns, Wiggins Carrying Wolves
Even though the Timberwolves have had a disappointing 2018-19 regular season, they still have some pieces to build around in the future. Center Karl-Anthony Towns has taken his game to a new level this season and leads the team with 24.4 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. Andrew Wiggins is also having the best season of his career and has chipped in with 17.9 points per game. These two players will give the tough Miami Heat defense some issues in this game.
Minnesota will be missing a few of their key veterans in this game in Luol Deng and Taj Gibson. The Timberwolves can still put the ball through the hoop and are averaging just under 113 points per game. Even though the Heat come into this game with a slightly better record, the Timberwolves probably have more proven talent on their roster.
Timberwolves Play Role of Spoiler
Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat have had a nice season, but they can’t seem to put together a run to get into the playoffs. This should be a very winnable game for the Heat, but the Timberwolves are going to play the role of spoiler. Minnesota has plenty of talent, and they are always tough to beat at home. The Heat are going to drop another game that they can’t afford to lose. Bet the Minnesota Timberwolves -+2.0 over the Miami Heat.