Wednesday, Nov. 1 vs Brooklyn Nets
Biggest storyline: The Heat went 0-3 against the Brooklyn Nets last season. And it didn’t quite matter which version of the team it was. The fading embers of the Kevin Durant/Kyrie Irving core or the new-look, youth-led movement of Mikal Bridges and Cam X 2 (Thomas and Johnson) felled Miami all the same. Miami’s performance against the KD/Kyrie team was a contested nail-biter. Still, they were pretty roundly humiliated by the Bridges-version of the Nets, with the wing exploding for a career-high 45 points during their February 15th matchup. The Nets and Heat project to be in a similar tier of Eastern Conference opponents, so every one of these matchups holds weight when it comes to seeding.
Toughest matchup: It will be Bridges. Back in Phoenix, the lanky forward was viewed as a solid two-way player who could sink jumpers as a 4th-ish option on offense, but ever since joining the Nets, he’s averaged just a hair under 26 points per game on 48-37-89 shooting splits, elite marks. His extremely sound jumper coupled with his ability to get to the line will test Miami greatly if Miami is still without Caleb Martin, Haywood Highsmith, and Josh Richardson by the time Wednesday rolls around.
PG: Simmons / Smith Jr.
SG: Dinwiddie / Walker Jr.
SF: Bridges / Thomas
PF: Johnson / O’Neale
C: Claxton / Sharpe