When: 7:30 pm EDT
Where: FTX Arena; Miami, FL
How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Hornets travel to Miami to take on the Heat without three starters and one of the reserves that would likely fill in as a starter if he were available.
Gordon Hayward, Mason Plumlee, Terry Rozier, and Kelly Oubre are all out tonight. Hayward and Plumlee both continue to be out due to health and safety protocols, while Oubre and Rozier are both nursing sprained ankles. Based on the lack of information that’s been shared about either of the latter two, I’d assume both will be back relatively soon.
The absences of those four does have its silver lining. The means more minutes for the young players and the guys fighting for the last roster spot in a game that ultimately doesn’t matter. James Bouknight is likely the biggest beneficiary in this respect, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can get going before the deep benches start coming in late in games. He should have more of a green light without Hayward and Rozier.
The Heat have been limiting the minutes of their veterans, so we may not see much of Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, and others. Tyler Herro has been the star of the preseason, averaging 25.3 points per game. Max Strus has been the other big threat, and he’s wont to bomb several 3-pointers tonight.
But perhaps the most interesting story of the game tonight is the meeting between Caleb and Cody Martin. This is the first time the twins have not been on the same team, so naturally this is the first time they’ve ever played against each other. Caleb has been out with a sprained ankle, but he’ll hopefully be good to go tonight. And hopefully the pair will get matched up against each other for a few possessions throughout the course of the game.
With all of the injuries and rest, expect there to be several stretches during this game that look akin to Summer League basketball. That’s what preseason is all about. As long as the Hornets don’t look as dreadfully inept as they did last Thursday, I think we’ll be okay.