Lou Williams will need to break out of his scoring slump is the Clippers want any hope of winning on Thursday without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire)
- After their 7-game win streak was snapped Tuesday, the Clippers continue their road trip in Miami on Thursday
- The Heat have lost four straight as they continue to feel the absence of Jimmy Butler
- Get our odds, preview, and best bet for this contest below
The LA Clippers will visit the Miami Heat on Thursday, January 28th, tip-off 8pm ET in South Beach. Los Angeles will be without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George once again due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Miami, meanwhile is still missing Jimmy Butler due to COVID-19, but he’s now recovering and could be ready to suit up on Thursday.
These two teams split the season series last year with one victory apiece. But before the Heat’s win in their last meeting with Denver, Mike Malone’s team won three straight.
Clippers vs Heat Odds
|LA Clippers||+4.5 (-110)||+160||N/A|
|Miami Heat||-4.5 (-110)||-190||N/A|
Odds taken Jan 27 at Fanduel
The Heat are 4.5-point favorites heading into Thursday’s meeting in South Beach.
Kawhi And PG’s Absence Hurting LA
Prior to Tuesday night’s loss to Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks, the Clippers won seven straight. But after Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were both ruled out due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, it was an absolute battle for LA against the Hawks. Add in Patrick Beverley’s absence as well, and this squad was severely depleted.
It’s no secret that without their two stars, the Clips are simply just an average team in the West. However, a couple of different role players did step up and show they’re capable of contributing on both ends of the court.
Reggie Jackson got just his second start of the season, dropping a team-high 20 points while also dishing out eight assists on the night. The veteran guard will continue to be relied upon with Leonard and PG out. Considering his performance on Tuesday, it seems like Jackson will continue to rise to the occasion.
Second-year forward Terance Mann also featured in the first unit over Marcus Morris. The former Florida State star showed promise, contributing 10 points while grabbing nine rebounds. His role has been limited with Ty Lue’s team this season, but this showing will prove to the Clippers head coach that maybe, he’s capable of a lot more.
Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Patrick Beverley are all OUT tomorrow against the Miami Heat.
Clippers shorthanded once again.
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) January 27, 2021
It’s still unknown when Kawhi and George will return. They didn’t travel with the team on their six-game road trip but could join at any point throughout these next handful of contests. It simply depends on the league’s protocols. As for Beverley, he opted to stay back in LA due to soreness in his right knee.
The Heat have been struggling immensely and have been dealing with key absences of their own. But regardless, it will be a difficult task ahead on Thursday in South Beach for the Clips without their superstar duo.
Miami Needs Butler Back
Arguably the focal point of this Heat team on both ends of the floor, Butler has played just six games this season due to COVID-19 and injuries. The vet hasn’t suited up since January 9th and since then, Miami is a dreadful 2-7. But as Jimmy Buckets continues to ramp up his conditioning, there’s a growing possibility that he will finally make his return on Thursday, which could be huge.
A 27-point loss for the Heat to a red-hot Denver Nuggets squad was certainly not a promising sign, but with the Clippers missing their two best players, Miami could very well break their losing streak. They will need to improve on this performance though. Erik Spoelstra’s team shot just 38% from the field and under 30% from downtown while getting outscored 50-28 in the paint by the Nuggets.
It’s important to note that Miami was also without Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro, who are both nursing minor injuries. On a more positive note though, Kendrick Nunn has seemed to find his scoring touch again. The 25-year old is averaging 19 points across his last six contests as he’s stepped into a more advanced role in the Heat lineup. He also dropped a team-high 17 points on Wednesday night.
With Leonard, George, and Beverley all out, this is going to be a grind for LA. Even if Butler doesn’t play, I like Miami here. Herro and Dragic were listed as questionable on Wednesday which means there is a solid chance they could both feature in this contest.
But even if the Heat are without all three, they have more than enough to beat a Clippers team who are lacking any serious impact offensively. Bam Adebayo will likely lead the way, with Nunn looking to continue his impressive run.
Pick: Miami Heat -4.5 (-110)
Quinn Allen is a sports journalist, with a background and education in broadcast journalism (BCIT ’17). He writes about European Football, Basketball, and Baseball for numerous sites across the globe.