Both Miami Heat and Sacramento Kings have been in a bit of a slump lately. The Heat emerged victorious in the first meeting between the two sides for the 2020-21 season in a game that went to the wire.
Fixture: Miami Heat vs Sacramento Kings | NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Thursday, February 18th, 10 PM ET (Friday, 8:30 AM IST)
Venue: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
Miami Heat Preview
The Miami Heat have failed to pick up their game even with a full-strength squad. They've displayed defensive tenacity all season but their offense has been a huge issue. They surrendered huge leads and failed to score down the stretch against the shorthanded LA Clippers and Golden State Warriors despite Jimmy Butler recording a triple-double in both games.
The Miami Heat have missed the services of Goran Dragic dearly and he's set to miss his seventh straight game due to an ankle injury. Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson haven't been too consistent of late and need to pick up their form in Dragic's absence if the Heat are to stand a chance against the Sacramento Kings.
Key Player - Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler has been playing as hard as possible since his 30-point return game against the Sacramento Kings in January. He's averaged 21.6 points, 8.6 assists, and nine rebounds since then. Butler's arguably the best defender on his team and the Miami Heat offense stagnates without him on the court.
Miami Heat Predicted Lineup
G Kendrick Nunn, G Duncan Robinson, F Jimmy Butler, F Kelly Olynyk, C Bam Adebayo
Sacramento Kings Preview
The Sacramento Kings have hit a rough patch after playing some exciting basketball in late January. They've been blown out in three of their ongoing four-game losing streak. Luke Walton's men haven't been able to defend anything that moves but they'll get a chance to regroup against the struggling Miami Heat.
That Sacramento's current rut coincides with Harrison Barnes' recent dip in form is not surprising. The forward is having his best year with the Sacramento Kings but has averaged a paltry 7.4 points in the last five outings. Both Barnes and Richaun Holmes will miss Thursday's game due to injuries. Rookie Tyrese Haliburton hasn't let the team's form impact his game though. He's averaged 15.4 points per game on a 50-40-80 clip since the beginning of February.
Key Player - De'Aaron Fox
De'Aaron Fox would've been a lock for one of the All-Star spots if the Sacramento Kings had a better record. He's exploded after signing a max extension this season, averaging 23.2 points and 6.8 assists per game. Fox had 30 points in the previous game against the Kings and he will be looking to replicate that performance.
Sacramento Kings Predicted Lineup
G De'Aaron Fox, G Buddy Hield, F Glenn Robinson III, F Marvin Bagley III, C Hassan Whiteside
Heat vs Kings Match Prediction
The Miami Heat will look to get their offense going against the Sacramento Kings who have the worst defensive rating in the league right now. The Heat's defense is good enough to restrict the injury-laden Kings lineup throughout the course of the game. Expect Jimmy Butler and co. to return to winning ways on Thursday.
Where to watch Heat vs Kings?
Local coverage of the game will be available on FOX Sports Sun and NBC Sports California. You can also live stream the same via the NBA League Pass.