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Nets wrap up homestand vs. Heat

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Another one. The Nets played host to the Orlando Magic on Monday night, but had a terrible showing and lost by 23 points. They're 7-17 and while they're not out of playoff contention yet, iEven though this is the last game of the homestand, they're only one the road for one game before coming back to face Minnesota in a Sunday matinee game.

Making the trip into Brooklyn tonight will be the Miami Heat. The Heat got off to a good start, but have struggled as of late. They lost three straight games last week, but appear to have gotten out of their mini slump with victories in their last two games over the Grizzlies and the Hawks. Miami finds themselves sixth in the Conference but figure to be near the top of the standings as the season progresses.

Where to follow the game

YES Network for TV (if the cable gods smile on your house). WFAN 101.9 FM for radio. Tip is after 7:30.

Injuries

All the Nets that are eligible to play will be good to go.

Josh McRoberts injured his knee against the Lakers on November tenth and has missed the last three games.He's questionable for tonight. Tyler Johnson strained his left shoulder last week and has missed the last three games. He's also listed as questionable.

The game

Here's how the two clubs have fared so far

2015-2016

Brooklyn

Miami

Record

7-17 14-9

Pace

98.57 95.98

Offensive Efficiency

97.1 100.9

Defensive Efficiency

103.5 96.5

Turnover Rate

15.9 15.3

Assist Rate

15.9 16

Offensive Rebounding Rate

24.5 21.8

Rebound Rate

51 50.8

Free Throw Rate

23 30.8

Effective Field Goal Percentage

47.5 49.7

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52 46.2

With a point guard like Goran Dragic, you'd think Miami would play a bit faster. However, Miami is averaging only 95.98 possessions a game, fifth fewest in the NBA. Also, they've taken the sixth fewest three pointers in the league and are shooting 31.5 percent on those shots. Only the Nets are worse. Expect to see a flurry of mid range jumpers tonight.

Going back to Dragic, he's struggled from three point range for over a year. After shooting only 32.9 percent from three in his half season with Miami, he's currently shooting a career low 27.9 percent from downtown. He's also turning the ball over almost 19 percent of the time he has the ball, which is a sharp turn from the past couple of years when his turnover rate decreased each year. Some of this was to be expected as the roster is still new-ish, but Dragic can still stand to make improvements independent of the rest of the club.

If Rondae Hollis-Jefferson were healthy, we would've had a fun matchup between two rookies that have been solid defensively. With RHJ out, we'll only be seeing Justise Winslow. Winslow has been impressive coming off the bench and is one of the team's best perimeter defenders. Like RHJ, he's guarded the opponent's best perimeter scorers and he'll take turns guarding Joe Johnson and Bogan Bogdanovic tonight.

On the other side, the Nets will be dealing with Dwyane Wade and his old man game. He has his moments of brilliance, but Flash is shooting a career low 44.1 percent from the field and is getting to the line at a career low rate. This is a bit of a surprise seeing as how he's still the focal point of the Heat offense. Even with those struggles, Wade is still an incredibly important player to Miami and as he and Dragic get more playing time together, both of their talents will be maximized.

Our old friend Gerald Green has done a good recently. He's made 19 out of his last 33 shots over the past three games, including six three pointers. He got hospitalized and subsequently suspended two games last month, but no one really knows what led to the incident in question.

Player to watch: Hassan Whiteside

Here's something to keep an eye on. Dwight Howard is reportedly fed up with James Harden and the Houston Rockets and might be on the verge of asking for a trade. While no teams have officially made an offer for him, the Heat are a team that might be a good fit for the former All Star. Of course, if he were to end up in Miami, that means Hassan Whiteside would be heading to H-Town. Once considered to be a bust, Whiteside has been excellent in his year+ with the Heat.  He's averaging 12 points, 10.5 rebounds, and FOUR blocks in 27 minutes a night. While he's been great in his role, he wants a bigger part in the Heat offense. As Matt Pineda of Hot Hot Hoops notes:

There's a real issue here because there are nights when Whiteside is or can be the best player on the court for Miami and they aren't utilizing him enough. Whiteside runs up and down the court and works his tail off on defense and makes up for his teammates mistakes and then is never looked at on the other end.

It will run its course, and something will have to happen. Whiteside doesn't want to be a role player. He wants to be a major contributor. And that means every once in a while, dump the ball down low to the big guy.

When you take a look at some of the numbers, Whiteside's might be on to something. The team has only run 46 pick and roll plays, which is the same amount as Andrea Bargnani even though Whiteside has played 354 minutes on the year. In fairness to Erik Spoelstra and the Heat, they have tried to get him looks in the post, but it hasn't been very effective. The Chris Bosh-Whiteside pairing still has room for improvement, and if/when they're able to click, Miami could make a good run at an upper seed in the East.

It's been a rough couple of games for Brook Lopez. After committing 16 turnovers in his previous three games, Lopez coughed it up only once against Orlando. Unfortunately for him, he only made four out of his 15 shot attempts and was outplayed by Nikola Vucevic. Lopez is very skilled at drawing fouls, and it'll be a good test for Whiteside on defense. He's committing fewer fouls this year and is playing more minutes. Brook will put Whiteside's improving defense to the test and will be the focal point of Brooklyn's gameplan.

If the Heat want to get Whiteside involved more, tonight would be a good place to start. Miami averages 1.3 points per possessions when using Whiteside in P&R, and Lopez has had his difficulties handling Centers in those situations. As a team, Brooklyn has been terrible covering P&Rs while Miami is the league's best offense on those plays. It's a toxic mix if you're a Brooklyn fan.

From the Vault

"That's Top Ten right there. In the whole history of the NBA."

More reading: Hot Hot Hoops