We’re about to discover what’s more valuable: great defense or great offense.
Can the Heat (34-36, 17-16 away), who have the eighth best defensive rating in the NBA, impede the Spurs (42-29, 29-7 home), who have the league’s sixth best offensive rating? We’ll find out soon, as tip off time for this must-see game is 8:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday, March 20 at AT&T Center.
The Spurs have been making more buckets than KFC this season. They’re averaging 111.9 points per game on 46.0% shooting from the floor and 40.0% from behind the three-point line. San Antonio ranks first in field goal percentage and first in three-point percentage in the NBA. Most of the heavy lifting has been done by DeMar DeRozan, who is leading the Spurs with 21.6 points per game on 46.0% shooting, and LaMarcus Aldridge, who is chipping in 21.2 points per game.
Their defense is another matter altogether. San Antonio is giving up 110.3 points per game and ranks 19th in field goals allowed and 18th in three-pointers allowed. They’ll need to be far better tonight to give themselves an opportunity to win.
Great defense is the foundation on which the Heat are built. They’re third in fewest points allowed at 105.7 points per game, and are holding opponents to just 46.0% from the field and 36.0% from deep. Miami uses its size and length to force 14 turnovers per game and is seventh in the NBA in rebounding at 46.2 per contest.
Unfortunately, Miami has a way to go before its offense catches up to its outstanding defense. The Heat are averaging 105.9 points on 43.0% shooting from the floor and 36.0% from downtown. They’re seventh in rebounds and 17th in assists.
These two teams have already met once this season. The last time they played on November 8th, 2018, Miami won 95-88 behind 29 points from Hassan Whiteside.
The Spurs are coming off of a 105-111 win vs the Warriors in Golden State in which they were 10 for 26 from deep and won the war on the glass 50-49. The Heat are fresh off a 116-107 win against the Thunder in Oklahoma City in which they dished out 30 assists and had 13 swipes. Goran Dragic led the team with 26 points.
The Spurs began as 6.5-point favorites for this game, with a meager over/under total of 209. Miami is 38-32-0 against the spread this year and 36-34-0 over/under, compared to 40-30-1 ATS and 40-31-0 over/under for San Antonio.