Two of the Eastern Conference’s best face off on Thursday night as the Washington Wizards travel to Miami to take on the Heat. In a game that could have playoff implications, which team should you back to make a winning NBA pick? Let’s see the NBA odds.
Washington Wizards vs. Miami Heat
Thursday, November 18, 2021 – 7:30 PM EST at FTX Arena
The Miami Heat were off to the best start in the NBA before they got bit by the injury bug. Team leaders Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler have both been on the injury report these last two games. They still have a deep team capable of competing without their leaders. Yet the Heat knows that they need Butler and Bam to compete with the elite. They will be eager to get their stars back to full health.
The addition of Kyle Lowry has paid dividends for Miami. Lowery's defensive tenacity fits right in on this Miami roster. While Lowry's scoring output has decreased, his impact on the team cannot be understated. Lowry brings a veteran half-court presence to help guide the team in close games down the stretch.
The resurgence of Tyler Herro has been a boon to the Heat season. Herro is averaging 22 points per game coming off the bench. With Herro back to being a consistent shot-maker and advantage shot creator, the Heat have the offensive punch to match their defensive acuity.
Miami has one of the best home-court advantages in the NBA. The Heat are 4-1 at home this season. The Heat are 9-2 when they have scored more than 100 points this season, which makes it incumbent upon Washington to slow them down.
The Wizards have had a fantastic start to the season. The Wizards have greatly improved from a season in which they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. With the additions of Spencer Dinwiddie, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Wizards have a more balanced team that can compete on the offensive and defensive end. Fans in Washington have to be excited about this team's unlikely resurgence.
A major key to the Wizard's improvement has been from coaching. I thought Scott Brooks was past his prime in his ability to compete in the new NBA landscape. The league has changed drastically in the last 10 years that Brooks has been a coach. I did not feel that he had adjusted his tactics and techniques to match the changes in the league.
The Wizards improved by hiring a sharp head coach, Wes Unseld Jr., who is more familiar with the changes in the league's landscape. Unseld is much younger. He can communicate and connect with the players more easily. A change at the top has propelled the Wizards to the top.
Bradley Beal is still the leader of the team. Beal was the NBA scoring champion last season. Although Beal has had a decline in scoring to 23.3 points per game, that shows that he is implementing his teammates well. Beal will still get the majority of the shots in crunch time and there are very few players in the league who can stop Beal one-on-one. The Wizards now have a capable defense to complement Beal's ability to knock down shots when needed.
Kyle Lowry vs. Bradley Beal. The Wizards will be depending on Beal to make clutch shots down the stretch in a close game. Kyle Lowry will be charged with stopping Beal. Shutting down Beal is a tough task but if anyone has the chops to do it is Kyle Lowry.
Lowry is a durable defender with strong lateral movement who also knows all the tricks of a wily veteran. This should be a fascinating match-up in a close game. If Beal is able to get the better of Lowry and score consistently down the stretch, the Wizards can escape with a victory. If Lowry can shut down Beal in crunch time, the Heat will win the day.
With the Heat back to full health and the Wizards playing in a quick-paced game against the Charlotte Hornets last night, I expect the Heat to take advantage of the Wizards' fatigue and win by a nice margin. While the Wizards have an excellent defense, the Heat’s defense is even better. That will shine through tonight. Lay the points. Take the Heat, for your best bets.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.