The Miami Heat and LA Clippers will have a post-Valentine’s Day date at Staples Center on Monday night. The two teams are expected to be NBA title contenders this year, although the Heat had fallen on hard times earlier in the season. They have, however, made some strides recently and won four straight before the Utah Jazz broke their streak on Saturday.
The LA Clippers won without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on Sunday, against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The 128-111 victory showed how deep this Clippers team is, with Lou Williams leading all scorers with 30 points while Marcus Morris and Serge Ibaka chipped in with 23 and 21 points, respectively.
Fixture - Miami Heat vs LA Clippers | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Monday, February 15th, 10:00 PM ET (Tuesday, February 15th, 8:30 AM IST)
Venue - STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
Miami Heat Preview
The Miami Heat fell to 11-15 this season after their 112-94 loss to the Jazz on Saturday. That's a bit of a hiccup after having won their previous four games. It showed how much work coach Erik Spoelstra and his team have to do in order to contend for a championship this year.
The Heat are likely in need of a big trade this season if they are to repeat as Eastern Conference champions. Against the Clippers, their ability to win the East will be tested once again by another Western Conference standout.
Key Player - Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler has been getting better as the season has progressed and had a triple-double, as well as a couple of near-misses in the Heat's last few games. He had an off day against the Jazz, who did an excellent job defensively against the Miami Heat to win that match on Saturday.
Going up against Kawhi Leonard will be a challenge for Butler on both ends of the floor. When two of the best two-way players in the league go head-to-head, something’s got to give, though neither will give an inch to the other.
Miami Heat Predicted Lineup
G Kendrick Nunn G Duncan Robinson F Jimmy Butler F Kelly Olynyk C Bam Adebayo
LA Clippers Preview
After a few rocky performances in the past two weeks, the LA Clippers are now on a three-game winning streak heading into their matchup with the Miami Heat. The Clippers handled the Cavs easily and their defense has been much improved.
With a 20-8 record, the Clippers are only a game behind the second-place LA Lakers, who lost to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
The Miami Heat will, however, be a challenge for Ty Lue and the LA Clippers as they look to win their fourth game in a row.
Key Player - Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard missed the LA Clippers' game on Sunday with a leg contusion but that could have just been a precautionary measure and he is likely to play on the second night of a back-to-back.
He has been making a case for MVP consideration all season, ramping up his production the last few games to cement his case for the candidacy. In the 11 games prior to this matchup with the Miami Heat, Leonard averaged 29.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.8 steals a night. He also shot 53.4 percent from the field over the same period.
The quiet but highly competitive leader of the LA Clippers is playing like a man possessed and determined to put last season’s playoff failures behind him. Facing the Heat’s Jimmy Butler will not be easy, but Leonard makes any difficult task look simple, especially when he's at his best.
LA Clippers Predicted Lineup
G Pat Beverley G Reggie Jackson F Kawhi Leonard F Nicolas Batum C Serge Ibaka
Heat vs Clippers Match Prediction
It will be quite a challenge for the Miami Heat to face another championship hopeful in the LA Clippers. The Heat, however, are one of the most resilient teams in the league regardless of their current record and will throw everything they have got at the Clippers.
The Heat have a few injuries to deal with, but they have a slight advantage as both their All-Stars, Butler and Adebayo, are ready to suit up. The game will likely go down to the wire, but the LA Clippers appear to be in better rhythm than the Miami Heat. Expect the Clippers to snatch a narrow win at the end.