NBA Picks: Grab Nets -6.5 Over Short-Handed Heat

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 2:52 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014 2:52 PM UTC

The Nets are 6.5-point favorites on NBA odds while riding its fourth two-game winning streak of the season. What are you willing to be on happening against the visiting Heat, who are shorthanded?

Heat Far from Healthy
Miami will be without forward/center Chris Bosh for this game and perhaps a while longer, and the team won't have forward Josh McRoberts, a free-agent acquisition from Charlotte, for likely the rest of the season. Bosh missed Sunday's 93-75 home loss to Chicago with a strained calf and is out indefinitely. It's a shame as Bosh is having an All-Star caliber season, averaging 21.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Sunday was the first game he had missed all season.

McRoberts hurt his right knee in a win against Phoenix lass Tuesday as he fell awkwardly while chasing down a loose ball. He has a torn meniscus that's almost surely season-ending. McRoberts played well with Charlotte last year but had been a disappointment in Miami, averaging 4.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists. He's been battling injuries all season.

Coach Erik Spoelstra planned to have a starting lineup this season of Norris Cole, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, McRoberts and Bosh but those five have played a total of just 34 minutes together. Spoelstra has used 10 different starting lineups already. At 11-13, the Heat are off to their worst start under Spoelstra. To make matter worse, Wade, who has missed several game this year with injury, might not play Tuesday, either, after he missed Monday's practice with a stomach virus. Forward Justin Hamilton is questionable with a left quad contusion and big man Chris Andersen is probable with a sprained right ankle. Before placing your NBA pick on them, understand that the team is so shorthanded -- only eight players were at practice on Monday -- that it has called up 2014 first-round pick Shabazz Napier and Hassan Whiteside from its D-League affiliate. Both will join the team in Brooklyn.

The Heat have lost seven of their past 10 games. They are 10-13-1 against the NBA betting spread this season and 10-14 'over/under.'


Nets Better Without Lopez?
The Nets have their own injury concerns. Center Brook Lopez has missed the past four games with a back injury and won't play Tuesday. In fact, Lopez is out at least three more games. He's averaging 16.1 points and 6.2 rebounds but has a comically low 12 assists on 629 touches. That's almost hard to do. Brooklyn has been moving the ball much better without Lopez, totaling 54 assists in the past two games.  Over the last two years, the Nets are 14-19 with Lopez in their lineup.

Brooklyn is reportedly open for business in terms of trades as it has made Lopez, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson available. Good luck dumping any of those contracts. The team already dealt forward Andrei Kirilenko to Philadelphia. Anything to save a few dollars after paying a ridiculous luxury tax bill last season.

The Nets played one of their best games of the season Saturday in a 114-87 rout at Charlotte. Brooklyn shot 58.3 percent from the field and had a season-high 16 3-pointers and season-best 29 assists. Kevin Garnett sat that one out, but it was just a maintenance game off for rest in the second of a back-to-back and he will play Tuesday. Reserve power forward Mirza Teletovic has  missed three straight games and is questionable for Tuesday.

Brooklyn is 10-12 against the spread on NBA odds this year and 8-14 'over/under.'


First Meeting
On Nov. 17 in Brooklyn, the Nets were 8-point favorites at sportsbooks with a total of 196 and lost 95-83. Wade missed that game as did Deng. Mario Chalmers led Miami with 22 points, while Bosh had 15. Rookie Bojan Bogdanovic led Brooklyn with 22 points. The Nets shot only 41.4 percent from the field and missed 10 of their 26 free throws. Brooklyn swept the Heat last season, but that proved irrelevant when the teams met in the playoffs.

NBA Free Picks: Nets -6.5 at Pinnacle and 'under' 187.5 points. The Heat have covered just two of their past eight games. Brooklyn has covered five straight against teams with a losing record. The 'under' is 5-1 in Miami's past six. It is 5-1 in Brooklyn's past six after an ATS win. 

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