Friday, Nov. 3 vs Washington Wizards
Biggest storyline: The Heat have had ample matchups with the Wizards since the creation of the Southeast division in 2004, but this will be the first time the two teams face off in the NBA’s new In-Season Tournament. This will be the first group-stage match for each club, which will count both for the purposes of the tournament as well as the usual 82-game schedule. It will be interesting to see if the added weight of the game influences how either team plays or manages their rotations.
Toughest matchup: While Jordan Poole is projected to lead the Wizards in scoring, Miami will likely be content if he takes 20-25 shots in this matchup. Instead, I’ll focus more on Tyus Jones, a long-underrated point guard finally given a full-time opportunity to start with the Wizards. Starting 22 games for the Memphis Grizzlies last year, Jones averaged 16.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 8.1 assists on 50-41-78 shooting splits. Jones is crafty, doesn’t make many mistakes (Just 0.9 TOV last year), and a very willing pull-up 3-point shooter, the sort of player Miami hasn’t contained too well in past regular seasons. Indeed, Jones scored a career-high 28 points while dishing 10 assists in a victory against the Heat back in December of 2022.
PG: Jones / Wright
SG: Poole / Kispert
SF: Avdija / Coulibaly
PF: Kuzma / Gallinari
C: Gafford / Muscala