Without Whiteside, Miami Heat may struggle vs Minnesota Timberwolves

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 23: Hassan Whiteside
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 23: Hassan Whiteside /

With Hassan Whiteside still sidelined with a bone bruise, the Miami Heat will have to brace themselves for a battle against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Going into Monday night, the Miami Heat are once again without Hassan Whiteside. Bad news made worse, given the fact that they’re taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Because a certain big man by the name of Karl-Anthony Towns, is already averaging 24.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks a game this season. Including a 33-point, 19-rebound performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder last Friday.

Cue the panic music.

Now it’s true that the center is reportedly a touch under the weather, though he denies having whatever virus teammate Jimmy Butler previously suffered from. But nevertheless, without a comparable center, this matchup could get ugly, fast.

The last time the Timberwolves visited the AmericanAirlines Arena, the Heat walked away with a 123-105 win. Despite Towns’ 31 points and 11 rebounds. How? Well for one, Whiteside was healthy, and finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds.

But other guys stepped up in major ways too. Tyler Johnson also had 23 points, on 9-for-13 shooting from the field. Goran Dragic recorded 19 points and a whopping 10 assists. And James Johnson finished with 17 points and 6 assists.

There was also the fact that Minnesota had not yet acquired Jimmy Butler, who so far is averaging 16.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists per contest this year. He even posted 25 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists on Friday, his first game back after flu-like symptoms.

So is all hope lost for Monday’s matchup?

Not necessarily.

There’s no denying that Miami has had a rough start to their 2017-18 campaign. At 2-3, the squad  has plenty to improve on, including their defensive identity and 3-point shooting. But the good news is, they’re well aware of how much work has to be done. And have already taken steps towards a comeback, like holding a team meeting over the weekend.

Additionally, Dragic has been playing phenomenal basketball recently. Having averaged 20.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists in five games, the guard scored 22 against the Boston Celtics, on 9-of-15 shooting. So if he gets going, the Heat may have a chance yet.

Especially if the likes of Dion Waiters and The Brothers Johnson also find themselves with hot hands.

Next: Miami Heat hold a team meeting, try to get back to who they were

The Miami Heat continue their home stand by hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight, at 7:30 PM ET.