Heat vs. Nets NBA Odds & Picks: Brooklyn’s Offense Starting to Click (Jan. 25)
Elsa/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Durant and James Harden
- The Nets are favored over the shorthanded Heat on Monday night.
- Brooklyn's offense started clicking against Miami on Saturday night, but the defense remains a real problem.
- Can Brookyln's star power lift it to a big win on Monday?
Heat vs. Nets Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a new wrinkle into the NBA schedule — baseball-style series, with two games against the same team in the same arena.
The Brooklyn Nets will host the Miami Heat just two days after their 128-124 victory in a game in which they led by as much as 18 points before the Heat fought their way back in the fourth quarter.
While the Nets fended off the Heat, there’s cause for concern for one of the NBA’s championship contenders. Oddsmakers haven’t adjusted much coming into the second matchup as the Nets open as 7.5 point favorites with a total of 235.5.
The Heat have been absolutely decimated by both COVID-19 protocols and injuries this season. All-Star Jimmy Butler has missed seven consecutive games due to COVID-19 protocols and will be out of the duration of this road trip, as will Avery Bradley and Meyers Leonard.
To make matters worse, Tyler Herro didn’t make the trip due to a neck injury and Moe Harkless took a knee to his thigh while driving to the basket on Saturday night and will be out Monday. The Heat have only beat the Pistons and Raptors over their last seven games, going 2-5.
While the Heat have a championship culture with team president Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra, there’s only so much the culture can do for this team as they were already suffering a post Finals/bubble hangover. And when you compound it with being short handed, it’s clear they’re fighting an uphill battle.
Over the past seven games, the Heat are 25th in Net Rating (-7.2) with an Offensive Rating of 108.1 and a Defensive Rating of 115.3, which would rank 19th and 27th respectively. The Heat are also one of the league’s worst rebounding teams and rank dead last in turnover percentage (14.3%).
Still, the culture does have some impact. They trimmed an 18-point lead down to two in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against the Nets. Bam Adebayo has been a bright spot as he scored a career high 41 points while adding nine assists and five rebounds. Kendrick Nunn has also been solid off the bench, scoring 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the Nets, you have to fight fire with fire or get some stops and without Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Avery Bradley, Meyers Leonard and Maurice Harkless, they have an uphill battle doing either.
The Brooklyn Nets picked up their first win of the season with their entire Big 3 in action with Saturday’s win over the Heat, snapping their two-game losing streak in the process. Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving scored a combined 71 points, including every point in the fourth quarter. Joe Harris also added 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting and 7-of-12 from behind the arc. It’s no surprise that this is the fourth-most efficient offense in the league, scoring 114.9 points per 100 possessions this season while having the second-highest eFG% (57.9%).
Unfortunately, the defense is a problem. It ranks 25th among NBA teams, allowing 114.9 points per 100 possessions. They’ve also gotten worse on defense since trading Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, Taurean Prince and Rodions Kurucs for James Harden.
Losing one of their best rim protecting centers and three wings certainly wasn’t going to help a struggling defense and over the past four games, this team has giving up 121.0 points per 100 possessions, dead last among NBA teams.
To put this in it’s proper context, the 2020 Dallas Mavericks were scoring 115.9 points per 100 possessions and were the most efficient offense in NBA history. The Nets are six points worse than that, so it’s pretty clear that even an 18-point lead isn’t safe if this team isn’t scoring at will.
That said, this team did look more engaged on defense Saturday and they have a massive advantage over the Heat in their ability to close out possessions by rebounding the ball, something the Heat struggle with. Should the Nets avoid turning the ball over as they did on 15.4% of their possessions, they’ll be tough to beat.
For three quarters, the Brooklyn Nets dominated the Miami Heat on Saturday night. It took 18 turnovers and a career high 41 points from Bam Adebayo for the Nets to squander an 18-point lead and blow the cover Saturday night.
For a Brooklyn Nets team with championship aspirations led by Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, we’re unlikely to see another meltdown like we saw Saturday night against an even more short handed Heat team that is now missing Moe Harkless.
My projections make this game right around the market number of 7 points but I think this line is a bit short. I’ll lay the 7.5 points with the Nets and look for them to get a wire-to-wire victory before heading out on a three-game road trip.
Pick: Brooklyn Nets -7.5