Preview and Prediction: San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat

The San Antonio Spurs (17-21) cap off an already successful road trip tonight against the Miami Heat (27-12). To begin their four-game trip, the Spurs have gone 2-1 — with wins over the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors.

San Antonio Spurs Battle for Playoff Spot

While the Spurs have gone 5-3 in their last eight games with a few very impressive victories sprinkled in, they’ve actually slipped out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Riding a six-game winning streak, the Memphis Grizzlies have jumped into the eighth seed. The Grizzlies are also the team who beat the Spurs on this road trip.

Though the Spurs are the ninth seed, the good news is they have begun to separate themselves from the teams behind them. The three closest teams — the Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves — all have 24 losses, three more than San Antonio.

Miami Heat Injury Update

Tyler Herro has been ruled out for tonight’s game with a left knee bruise. The 19-year-old rookie has had a very strong campaign for the Heat. He’s averaging 13.4 points in 28.4 minutes per game, while hitting 38.5% of his three-pointers.

Joining Herro on the sidelines will be Justise Winslow. Winslow has only played once since Dec. 4 due to a back injury.

DeMar DeRozan’s Technical Rescinded

DeMar DeRozan was hit with his sixth technical foul of the season after his legendary posterization of the Raptors Chris Boucher. In real-time, it looked like a bad call by the referee.

The NBA took a look at it and agreed that it was a bad call. By rescinding the technical foul, that not only saves DeRozan money, it makes it less likely he will face a suspension this season. Remember, NBA players are hit with a one-game suspension after their 16th technical of the season.

Key Matchup – Spurs at Heat

DeMar DeRozan and Jimmy Butler will likely guard each other. If the Spurs are to win this game, DeRozan will need to get the upper hand. That means not only keeping alive his torrid offensive play, he will need to lock in defensively and avoid mental errors on that end of the court.

Spurs at Heat: Prediction

The Heat are an NBA-best 17-1 at home. That said, the Spurs have been able to raise their level of play against the better teams in the league. If DeRozan has another big game, I see the Spurs pulling out a victory.

San Antonio Spurs – 110
Miami Heat – 108