Miami Heat face a tough January

Jan 3, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) shoots the ball as Washington Wizards guard Ramon Sessions (7) looks on in the second quarter at Verizon Center. The Heat won 97-75. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) shoots the ball as Washington Wizards guard Ramon Sessions (7) looks on in the second quarter at Verizon Center. The Heat won 97-75. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

New Year’s has come and gone, and 2016 is officially here. The Miami Heat may have started off the year strong so far, currently 21-13 after three wins, but their January ahead will not necessarily be easy.

The Heat play a total of 17 games this month, merely five of which are at home, and will only play at the AmericanAirlines Arena twice in a row. They will also meet the same opponent just twice, specifically the Washington Wizards and the Milwaukee Bucks.

More from All U Can Heat

In other words, its time for Miami to get down to business.

On Wednesday, the Heat will host the 16-19 New York Knicks, their last home game until January 19. The good news is, Miami has won both of their meetings so far this year, despite the Knicks acquiring Kristaps Porzingis who has put on quite a show for a rookie. During their first matchup, New York was held to only 32.2 percent shooting from the field and 11 second-quarter points. The Heat held Carmelo Anthony to 4-of-13 shooting the second time around.

Miami will then begin their six-game Western road trip, as they face the Phoenix Suns on January 8. The Heat have yet to play against the Suns this year but seeing as they are 12-25 as of Monday night (coming in fourteenth in their conference), this should be a relatively easy win.

The very next day, Miami will take on the Utah Jazz, after only beating them by a point earlier this season. The Jazz, who are 15-17, are continuing to struggle as Derrick Favors deals with back spasms that have already kept him out of five games. However, both Favors and the organization insists that the issue is being dealt with and is not serious; they are simply being cautious in order to avoid further aggravating the issue.

Then on January 11 comes the fight against the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors went 24-0 at the start of 2015, making them the talk of not only the league, but the world of sports period. “Splash Brothers” Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, along with the likes of Draymond Green, led the team to a magnificent run that finally ended against the Milwaukee Bucks. Since then, Golden State went on a five game winning streak (7-2 overall). The Heat have not played the Warriors yet and it will be interesting to see how they fair.

Miami will meet the Los Angeles Clippers for a nationally televised duel on January 13. At 22-13, the Clippers stand fourth in the West, with a stacked squad. News of Kobe Bryant’s retirement may have stolen the thunder in LA recently, but this team deserves to be talked about. The silver lining is that the Heat have had a tendency to play better against tougher competition, so there is hope yet.

January 15 should be a break for Miami, as they take on the 12-23 Denver Nuggets. Forward Kenneth Faried suffered a scary neck injury last weekend, but has since started and competed for 27 minutes of play.  Nevertheless, the Nuggets have lost their last six and have been pretty mediocre at best, this year.

But then comes the matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 17. Currently, Kevin Durant is out with a toe injury but that probably will not stop the 24-10 powerhouse from continuing to succeed. The Heat came out victorious last time they played, but only by two. This will be an exciting game to watch, no matter the outcome.

More from Heat News

Finally Miami is able to come back home on January 19, as they host the 14-21 Milwaukee Bucks. This will give way to some much needed rest, before the team heads back on the road once again.

After already taking the 97-57 win against the 15-17 Washington Wizards last Sunday, the Heat are heading back to the Nation’s Capital on January 3. Fingers crossed that their second meeting will go as well as the first did.

Miami will continue their time on the road by crossing the boarder for the Toronto Raptors on January 22. The Heat played well against the Canadians in November, but lost their way in December. The Raptors are having quite a nice season as they sit fourth in the East, 21-15, though they are not the most consistent of teams.

On January 25, they will face their on-again, off-again rivals: the Chicago Bulls. The Windy City has seen its fair share of strange basketball this year, but are still currently second in the East with a 20-12 record. This matchup can go a number of ways, depending on what state of mind the Bulls are in and how exhausted Miami is. Generally speaking however, a meeting between these two never seems to disappoint.

The Heat will then head over to see the Brooklyn Nets on January 26. The Nets recently beat Miami, 111-105, despite currently having an overall record of just 10-24. This is a great example of the Heat playing down to worse teams. One can only hope they stop doing so, and graciously accept the victory.

Their road trip will come to an end after they play the Milwaukee Bucks for the second time on January 29.

And Miami will finish out the month at home on January 31, versus the 21-14 Atlanta Hawks. The Heat and Hawks have split a pair already this season, and this is certainly not the easiest matchup to end January with. However, the Heat are 14-7 at home so at least they have that going for them.

More heat: Miami Heat: 5 Non-Kevin Durant free agent targets

How do you think the Miami Heat will do in January? Sound off, below!