Who will WIN this matchup?
Miami Heat (41-24)
Denver Nuggets (43-22)
Miami Heat: (+105)
Denver Nuggets: (-125)
• The line for this game is Denver by 1 point.
• The Heat (41-24) can climb as high as the second seed in the Eastern Conference or drop to sixth depending on how these eight games go, but the most important thing is they’re playing meaningful basketball again. One thing Miami isn’t worrying about is using the eight games to find itself in a favorable matchup. The Heat will play the games and then worry about the playoff matchup at the end, Spoelstra said.
• The Nuggets (43-22) enter Saturday’s play in third place in the Western Conference. Denver has had to gradually bring players into the fold because of the pandemic — star Nikola Jokic was diagnosed with COVID-19 when he was home in Serbia — and coach Michael Malone and his staff have been dealing with some nagging injuries among the players on the roster.
• One advantage Denver has is its deep roster. Led by Jokic and guard Jamal Murray, the Nuggets had 11 players log time in 41 or more games this season. Six are averaging in double figures in scoring.
• The most talked about Denver player during exhibition play in the bubble has yet to play an NBA game, however. Bol Bol, the 7-foot-2 son of former NBA player Manute Bol, was a second-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft after playing just nine games with the University of Oregon. Left foot surgery limited his career and was a reason he dropped in the draft. The 20-year-old showed his potential by recording 16 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in an 89-82 win against the Washington Wizards on July 22. He also had 15 points and three rebounds in a 119-104 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans last Saturday.
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Top Pick Record For December 2020: 0-0
Top Pick Record For November 2020: 24-5
Top Pick Record For October 2020: 21-5
Top Pick Record For September 2020: 41-12
Top Pick Record For August 2020: 32-8
Top Pick Record For July 2020: 11-5
Top Pick Record For June 2020: 2-0
Top Pick Record For May 2020: 5-1
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Top Pick Record For December 2019: 22-7
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Top Pick Record for October 2019: 14-4
Top Pick Record for September 2019: 22-2