|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CT23:00 , November 29, 2019
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, Florida Attendance: 19,600
Heat look to stay unbeaten at home vs. Warriors
The Miami Heat have been surprisingly good.
The Golden State Warriors have been shockingly bad, especially given their championship lineage.
On Friday night, these two teams will meet in Miami, where the Heat are 7-0 this season. Only three other NBA teams are still unbeaten at home this season.
"This is a step in the right direction," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after Miami's most recent home win, a 117-100 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday. "Guys are taking (home court) to heart."
The Warriors, who have won five straight Western Conference titles and also won three NBA championships during that span, have slumped this season to 4-15, which is the worst record in the league.
Injuries and a major defection have hit the Warriors hard. Kevin Durant bolted as a free agent shortly after last season. Klay Thompson is likely out for the season due to a knee injury. Stephen Curry is inactive due to a broken left hand. And D'Angelo Russell is out due to an injured right thumb.
But the Warriors got good news on Wednesday when Draymond Green returned after a three-game injury absence (right heel), contributing seven points, eight assists and five rebounds in a 104-90 home win over the Chicago Bulls.
"Having Draymond back is a big deal," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Green, who is known as Golden State's vocal, spiritual and emotional on-court leader. "Having nine instead of eight (players) matters. We have more options."
Right now, Golden State's starting options include Green and rookie Eric Paschall at forward, 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein at center, point guard Alec Burks and wing Glenn Robinson III.
The Warriors bench consists of rookie shooting guard and first-round pick Jordan Pool, undrafted rookie point guard Ky Bowman, second-year forward Omari Spellman and veteran power forward Marquese Chriss.
Of those nine players, eight of them are new to the Warriors this season -- everyone except for Green. Given the injuries and the roster upheaval, it's been a rocky start.
But Friday marks the start of a five-game East Coast road trip. It's a new opportunity to bond and iron out any chemistry issues.
One thing is for sure: Golden State still has tremendous pride despite its last-place record.
"The names have changed," Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. "But their soul and their spirit and the way they compete have not changed at all."
Paschall, a second-round pick out of Villanova, leads Golden State's active players in scoring (17.0), and he had a team-high 25 points against Chicago on Wednesday.
Spellman, who won a national title at Villanova in 2018 and was a first-round pick (30th overall) by Atlanta last year, had a double-double off the bench on Wednesday: 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Meanwhile, the big question surrounding the Heat on Friday is whether Jimmy Butler can play. The talented wing missed Wednesday's 117-108 loss at the Houston Rockets due to an illness.
Butler leads Miami in scoring (18.9), assists (6.7) and steals (2.6).
The good news for the Heat is that Miami got point forward Justise Winslow (concussion) back on Wednesday, when he had 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Prior to Wednesday, he had not played since Nov. 5.
--Field Level Media
Updated November 28, 2019