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NBA: Miami Heat @ San Antonio Spurs Preview

The NBA returns to Mexico on Saturday night, as the Miami Heat face off with the San Antonio Spurs.

The Heat have pulled themselves back up the Eastern Conference standings after a three-game winning streak. 

However, they met the Spurs last Saturday night and fell to an embarrassing defeat against a tanking San Antonio side. 

Gregg Popovich’s team have been oddly competitive against the East so far this season, with a 6-2 record against sides from the other conference. 

However, that good run could end in Mexico. Now Erik Spoelstra needs his team to build on their recent form having finally dragged themselves to a .500 record. 

The Heat are just 1.5 games off the top six, so their Play-off hopes require their good run to continue in a winnable game.

What: MIA Heat @ SA Spurs 
Where: Arena CDMX, Mexico City, Mexico
When: 22:00, Saturday December 17th 2022 
How to watch: NBA Pass
Odds: MIA Heat -300, SA Spurs +240

Heat hope to be at full strength While Miami have hit their stride of late, they’ve been doing it short-handed. 

Jimmy Butler missed out on the midweek visit to Oklahoma City, but he returned the following night only to see Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry sit out. 

The trio looked to have been rested after the Heat’s tough schedule this term. The Heat picked up a $25,000 fine in midweek for issues over their injury reporting and in turn they’ve listed all 16 of their contracted players on the injury report for this trip. 

However, that looks to be a prod at the league more than a serious issue. They should all be expected back for the Mexico showcase clash, which helps to justify the Heat being priced at -105 to win by at least eight points in the spread betting.

Will Herro be the man again?

While the Heat missed a trio of big names in midweek, it was Tyler Herro who powered them to two victories. 

The reigning Sixth Man of the Year has been upgraded to a starter for the 2022-23 campaign and he’s making the most of his chance so far. 

Herro hit 19 threes across the back-to-back, posting 35 points in the win over the Thunder and then a huge 41 in the victory at the Houston Rockets. 

The guard equalled a franchise record with his 10 successful threes against the Rockets, shooting at an impressive 65% from the field in that clash. 

Herro faces another favourable fixture this week and he has a great opportunity to build on his good form. He’s been Miami’s biggest scoring threat so far this season and his impressive shooting from distance should result in another good display. 

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Heat can put daylight between pair

Things haven’t been ideal for the Heat this term, but their turnaround has been coming for a little while after their statistics picked up in November. 

They’ve now hauled themselves into seventh in the league in terms of their defensive rating, which is something you expect of Spoelstra’s side. 

The Spurs, on the other hand, sit last in the league for points conceded per 100 possessions and that should be a concern against a Heat side who suddenly have plenty of scoring options. 

While perimeter shooters like Max Strus and Duncan Robinson can blow hot and cold, Bam Adebayo has posted at least 22 points in six of his last 10, while Butler is capable of massive hauls when he sets his mind to it. 

Herro has emerged as a major scoring threat, so there’s plenty of reason to be worried for the Spurs’ defence going into this clash. 

They’ve got little to offer that can shut down Miami if the team arrives in Mexico City on song. The Heat had a massive 47 three-point attempts against the Rockets and with the trio of Butler, Adebayo and Herro averaging over 20 points per night each the Heat should make short work of this one. 

They look to have regained some confidence after a shaky start and they should cover a -7.5 handicap against the Spurs. 

Expect the Spurs to play some part in an exciting game, with each of the last three NBA Global matchups averaging 230 points per game. 

The Spurs won last weekend’s meeting 115-111 and with the total points line set at 222.5 backing overs at -110 looks like the best way to go in this clash.

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