NBA Basketball

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Denver 24 25 27 27 103
Miami 18 34 24 23 99
4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 PM CTNaN:� , January 8, 2019
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, Florida  Attendance: 19,600

Winslow's on-the-job training continues vs. Nuggets

According to STATS
According to STATS

Denver Nuggets at Miami Heat

  1. The Nuggets lost to the Rockets on the road last night, 125-113, snapping a five-game win streak. Denver has gone 4-1 in the second game of back-to-backs this season, trailing only the Raptors (7-1), Warriors and Pacers (both 5-1) for the best record in such games in the NBA.
  2. Jamal Murray scored 13 points in the loss to Houston, attempting only three three-pointers. Denver has gone 4-5 (.444) this season when Murray takes three or fewer threes, compared to 22-7 (.759) when he attempts at least four.
  3. The Heat lost to the Hawks on Sunday, scoring a season-low 82 points. It was the first time the Hawks had held an opponent under 95 points this season. Miami shot 35.6 percent from the field in the loss, its lowest mark in a game this season.
  4. Derrick Jones Jr. led the Heat in scoring with 14 points in the loss to Atlanta. This tied him for the sixth-lowest point total by a leading scorer in a game this season (Favors -- 13 on 11/26, Blakeney -- 13 on 11/17, M. Gasol -- 13 on 10/17, K. Walker -- 11 on 1/2, Rubio -- 11 on 11/14).
  5. The Heat have gone 4-2 versus the Nuggets over the past three seasons, averaging 114.0 points to Denver's 110.7. Miami has averaged 102.5 points versus all other opponents since 2015-16.
  6. Miami had four players finish the loss to Atlanta with a plus/minus of -25 or worse. It was only the fifth game this season by any team with at least four players at -25 or lower -- the other teams to have done this are the Knicks, Bulls, Cavaliers and Spurs.

The Miami Heat have a two-time NBA champion coach in Erik Spoelstra, but they have a point guard who had never played the position until a month ago.

"He has to organize us," Spoelstra recently told the media of Justise Winslow, a 6-foot-7, 225-pound 22-year-old who was drafted in the first round as a forward but has been converted to point guard following Goran Dragic's knee surgery.

"(Winslow) has to get guys involved," Spoelstra continued. "He has to pick his spots when to be aggressive, and that changes from game to game."

Spoelstra sees Winslow emerging as a double-double machine, but that didn't happen Sunday when he was held to 13 points, five rebounds and three assists in an embarrassing 106-82 loss at the lowly Atlanta Hawks.

On Tuesday, the Heat (19-19) return home to face the Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets (26-12). But they get a Nuggets team that saw its five-game win streak snapped on Monday night in a 125-113 loss to the Houston Rockets.

Nikola "Joker" Jokic led Denver on Monday in points (24) and rebounds (13), proving once again that he's no joke.

Jokic is a pick-and-roll machine and leads Denver in points (18.8), rebounds (10.0), assists (7.5) and steals (1.5). Jokic is hitting 83.6 percent of his free throws, 56.2 percent of his two-pointers and 31.8 percent on 3-pointers.

In essence, Jokic, 23, has morphed into a 7-foot Serbian point-center in his fourth season. In fact, he had 10 triple-doubles last season, fourth in the league.

"For us to be the team we want to be, (Jokic) has to be a big part of that," Nuggets coach Michael Malone recently told reporters. "He has to be aggressive."

The Nuggets missed making the playoffs by one game in each of the past two seasons, but this young roster is starting to mature. Point guard Jamal Murray (21 years old) is second in the team in scoring at 18.5 points per game; Gary Harris is (24) is fourth at 16.1.

Nuggets veterans to watch this season have included forward Paul Millsap, 33, and guard Will Barton, 28 -- although the latter will miss Tuesday's game due to a hip injury. Barton is third on the team in scoring (16.5), and Millsap is averaging 13.4 points and 6.7 rebounds.

Miami's starting backcourt of Winslow and Josh Richardson should provide for an interesting matchup against Murray and Harris. Winslow is three inches taller than Murray. Richardson, who leads the Heat in scoring (18.3), is two inches taller than Harris.

At center, Miami's Hassan Whiteside, who has an old-school, in-the-paint game, may struggle defending the versatile Jokic, although the reverse may also be true.

In terms of rest, Miami will have the advantage with that extra day off and Denver completing a back-to-back.

--Field Level Media

Updated January 8, 2019

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