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Brooklyn Nets vs. Miami Heat preview: Nets look to put on a show in Miami

Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

A good bit of business. The Brooklyn Nets continued their road trip on Monday night against the Charlotte Hornets. The Nets started strong and never looked back as they went wire-to-wire to get their first victory of the 2023-2024 season.

The opponent tonight is looking to get back in the win column. The Miami Heat are back home after losing on the road to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN on radio. Tip after 7:30 p.m. ET.

Injuries

No Cam Johnson, Nic Claxton, Spencer Dinwiddie or Dennis Smith Jr.. It sounds like Claxton will be back soon while Johnson will be reevaluated in about a week and a half. Dinwiddie left Monday’s game with a left ankle sprain. Dennis Smith Jr. (hip) is a late scratch, meaning Trendon Watford will get point guard minutes, per Jacque Vaughn.

Bam Adebayo didn’t play on Monday night due to a hip contusion. He’s listed as probable. Duncan Robinson (left foot sprain), Kevin Love (left shoulder contusion) and Josh Richardson (right foot tendinopathy) are available. Jimmy Butler (right knee tendinitis) was upgraded to probable, while Haywood Highsmith (left knee sprain) is questionable. Cody Martin is out with left knee tendinosis.

The game

Cam Thomas keeps on keeping on. The former LSU Tiger has been a scoring machine and has crossed the 30 point mark each game this season. His ability to get downhill and finish in traffic helps keep the Nets offense in the halfcourt workable and keeps defenders on their heels.

Assuming Adebayo is good to go, how the Nets defend him will be pretty interesting. Without Claxton, Dorian Finney-Smith has been starting at center, and he’s been magnificent. DFS gives the Nets someone that can stretch the floor to draw bigs away from the rim and plays with a physicality and toughness that makes up for Clax’s absence. If Adebayo plays, Miami will have their defensive anchor and all around dynamo back on the court. Adebayo does so many things well on the court and his ability to guard positions one through five on defense make him one of the most versatile players in the NBA.

What’s also been good for the Nets recently has been the play of Ben Simmons. The Nets need Simmons to keep the offense running smoothly, and so far he’s held up on that end. He has a 4:1 assist to turnover ratio so far this year and he’s been able to jumpstart the Nets fastbreak attack after every miss. If he’s doing that and being assertive when he drives to the basket, it takes the Nets up a few notches. He’s gotten better by the game and a good showing against a team like Miami will boost his confidence even more.

Player to watch: Tyler Herro

So what do you do when you’re the centerpiece of non-stop trade rumors all season? Come back and ball, of course! Herro spent all summer involved in trade rumors with the Portland Trailblazers, but he’s still here. And so far, he’s carried the workload for the squad. He’s averaging 25 points in each of the first four games and is playing a league leading 39 minutes a night. It’s a tall ask for Herro and a big leap in his responsibilities, but so far he’s stepped up and handled this challenge. For young players in Herro’s position, it’s best to get these kind of reps now so you’re comfortable with it and when the playoffs (or in season tournament) begin, you can step into that role and be comfortable with it.

Mikal Bridges looked more like himself on Monday night. He went 10-13 from the field, and most importantly, a lot of his buckets were on the move. That part in particular is critical as his ability to score on the move is what makes him special. You can only keep a player as good as Bridges down for so long, and him playing to his usual standard is a welcome sight. He was a bit loose with his handle against the Hornets with five turnovers, so that’s going to be an area he works to improve on. With Simmons running the show and doing it well, Bridges can focus more on getting into good position and finishing plays.

From the Vault

Since we’re in Miami, it’s only right we check in with some guys who run the town

More reading: Hot Hot Hoops, SB Nation NBA, Nets Republic, All U Can Heat, Heat Nation