Playoffs Implication in Heat-Nuggets Clash at Miami Sunday

Denver Nuggets players

Jay Pryce

Sunday, April 2, 2017 3:22 PM GMT

Sunday, Apr. 2, 2017 3:22 PM GMT

The Heat and Nuggets are both battling for playoff spots with fewer than seven games remaining in the regular season. Injuries may make a difference in this one. Pick and preview here.

Denver Nuggets vs Miami Heat

Denver (35-40 SU, 40-33-2 ATS) heads to Miami slumping at the worst time. It’s loss three games in a row after falling to the Hornets 122-114 on Friday night. With seven games left in the regular season, the Nuggets sit in ninth place in the West, 2.5 behind Portland for the fourth and final playoff spot.

Denver has dropped five of their past six in Miami, though four of the contests have finished within five points. Head coach Michael Malone may be short-handed for this trip.  He will likely be without point guard Jameer Nelson (9.2 ppg, 5.1 apg), questionable with a sore calf. Shooting guard Will Barton, who averages 13.7 points per game, is also in doubt with a hurt foot.

In the Charlotte loss, Denver yielded 17 3-pointers, tied for its most allowed all season. The OVER is 21-5 when the Nuggets gift more from behind the arc in a game than they make.

The Nuggets defense is MIA recently. Their 120.5 points per 100 possessions rank dead last in the NBA in efficiency over the team’s last five games.

Miami (37-39 SU, 44-31-1 ATS) is also in a dogfight for the playoffs, holding onto the final spot in the East because of a tiebreaker scenario over the Pacers. Four of their next five opponents are postseason bound, so expect the Heat to treat this as a must-win situation.

Head coach Eric Spoelstra has seen his squad drop three of their last four at American Airlines Arena. Poor shooting plagues the team. Averaging 98.5 points per game, they’re just 42.6 percent from the floor in this span.

Part of the bad play is because of starting shooting guard Dion Waiters’ absence. He’s missed seven consecutive games with an ankle injury. The four-year pro missed all of December as well. With Waiters out of the lineup. Miami is just 10-20 SU and 15-15 ATS this season. When he suits up, the Heat are 27-19 SU and 29-16-1 ATS. Miami’s point differential is nearly six points better with Waiters in the lineup.

No only do the Heat own a losing record with Waiters off the court, but against foes with an average winning margin of zero or better, they’re 2-10 SU, losing by 6.9 points per game. The Nuggets plus the points are my NBA pick.

 

Free NBA Pick: Denver Nuggets +4Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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