Game: Miami Heat @ Charlotte Hornets
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Sixers +7, Bucks -7
The Hornets have been struggling recently. They have lost eight of their last nine games and have covered the spread in only two of their last ten games. Miami was streaking in the other direction before having their five-game winning streak snapped by Dallas on Tuesday night. This will be the final game for each team before the All-Star break.
The Heat have won 10 of their last 15 games and have done so with consistent offense and one of the NBA’s best defenses. Miami is fifth in points allowed per game (104.4) and has held four of its last six opponents to 100 points or less. The Heat played Charlotte on Feb. 5 and held one of the league’s top-scoring offenses to just 86 points. Miami won, of course, 104-86.
Miami’s offense has really been filling it up lately. The Heat ranks 16th in scoring averaging 108.9 points a game this season. They have scored more than their average in six of their last ten games. Before the loss to Dallas, Miami averaged 116 points over its previous three games, but that offense could take a hit tonight. Tyler Herro is out and Jimmy Butler and Udonis Haslem are listed as questionable.
The Hornets are one of the top-scoring offenses in the NBA and that offense is the reason why they are still alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Charlotte is currently first in the NBA in scoring averaging nearly 114 points per game. The problem for the Hornets is its defense. Charlotte ranks 29th in the league in points allowed per game.
In its last three games, the Hornets averaged 126 points on offense. Because of their defense, Charlotte won only one of those games and that win came against Detroit, the team with the worst record in the NBA. Jalen McDaniels and Cody Martin are out for the Hornets, but they will have their core – LaMelo Ball (20.2 ppg), Miles Bridges (19.9 ppg), and Terry Rozier (19.0 ppg) – in the lineup tonight.
Charlotte tends to play well as an underdog at home. In that role, the Hornets are 9-6 ATS this season. Miami has done well playing the teams in its division. They are 8-4 ATS against the Southeast Division. They are also 14-6 ATS in games after a loss.
Coming into this week, games involving the Hornets have been the highest-scoring games in the NBA this season. Charlotte games have averaged 228.4 points per game. The Hornets O/U record for the season is a dead even 29-29-1. The Heat actually trend Over with a 35-23 O/U mark this season. Nine of the last thirteen Heat games have seen the total go Over. In the Hornets’ last nine games, the total has gone Under in six of them. Miami has won both games this season and both totals have gone Under thanks to a Heat defense that has held the Hornets under 100 points in both games.