INSIDER: Heat Back in Action

Josh Friedman
February 23, 2018 - 4:12 pm

It's common to refer to professional sports seasons as "marathons". Seasons that last months at a time where one game is seemingly followed by another. But the remainder of this Heat season, with 6 weeks and 24 games to go, feels like a sprint is upon the squad.  The Heat, once seeded 4th in the eastern conference and on the cusp of passing Cleveland as the 3rd seed, now find themselves seeded 8th.

They enter Friday night's game at New Orleans two games behind 7th seeded Philadelphia and 1.5 games ahead of 9th seeded Detroit. One would think that following the away game vs the Pelicans, the Heat would have the advantage of playing the next 7 of 8 contests at home, with 4 of the next 5 home opponents with losing records. But Miami has a pedestrian 14-12 record at the AAA and has had devastating home losses to league doormats Sacramento, Orlando and Brooklyn.

Like most teams, health is also an issue for Miami. They will get back Rodney McGruder, who has been sidelined all season as he recovered from a broken leg. He will rejoin the team next Tuesday in Miami after playing 2 games for Sioux Falls of the G league. Kelly Olynyk has missed 4 games with a shoulder injury.  He only had X-rays on it the night of the injury and the team has seen no reason to perform even an MRI on it. But Erik Spoelstra is being vague when it comes to Olynyk, only saying his forward hasn't been able to do anything beyond non-contact drills. When those two are back in the fold, Spoelstra, who typically likes to go with a 9 man rotation, will have 12 rotation players to choose from and it will be his job to see how those minutes are doled out and what combinations work best.

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