Miami has played five games to this point, and each of those games have had a different starting lineup.
Until now. Well, I think.
The Miami Heat will be facing off against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and they match-up pretty well with them since Andre Iguodala is the placeholder 4 right now.
Oklahoma City basically starts three guards: George Hill, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Lu Dort. That most likely means Jimmy Butler will take the match-up of Shai, while Tyler Herro most likely guards Hill and Duncan guards Dort.
The Thunder also start an undersized four, Darius Bazely, and he’s coming off an impressive performance against the Orlando Magic. Andre Iguodala clearly matches up well with the 6’8 Bazely, and although there’s questions about what the future holds for Miami’s power forward position, they can win plenty of regular season games with him there.
And of course Bam Adebayo will match-up with Al Horford. There definitely isn’t much to dive into with that match-up since you feel comfortable with Bam on defense no matter who he is matched up with.
Now, the bench is where Miami really can pull away early. First off, having Goran Dragic head in with the bench unit is a positive in itself, but it’s even better when a rookie, Theo Maledon, will be matched up with him for some time.
Goran’s craftiness allows him to break down a lot of young guys without experience, which is why I wouldn’t be surprised if Theo gets in early foul trouble.
Another guy that will be utilized for some time tonight is Kelly Olynyk. The Thunder play a bunch of bigs off the bench, including Mike Muscala and rookie Aleksej Pokusevski.
When Muscala gets thrown in off the bench, I’d expect Spo to do the same with Olynyk. Precious Achiuwa can also see time on him, but there are plenty of athletic 4’s and bigs on the roster that make more sense for Achiuwa from a match-up perspective.
This is game that Miami should win, especially coming off of a terrible shooting night against the Dallas Mavericks.
Limiting turnovers will be a huge priority for Miami as well, since they average the most turnovers a game in the NBA.
It’ll also be necessary to see Jimmy Butler play like Jimmy Butler. Not Finals Jimmy, but the high energy Butler many are used to.
We will see what happens tonight, as Miami looks to go to 3-3 on the season.