Keeping The Heat Down

The Miami Heat have already endured a rough start to the season. It won't be any easier to get back on track without one of their veteran leaders.

The last-place Heat try to move on after a potential career-ending injury to center Alonzo Mourning when they host the slumping New Jersey Nets on Thursday.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Miami –2.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 189 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 69% of bets for this game have been placed on Miami –2.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Mourning tore the patellar tendon in his right knee in the first quarter of Wednesday's 117-111 overtime loss to Atlanta. A typical recovery period for this type of injury is three months. The seven-time All-Star and two-time defensive player of the year has already said he will not play next year, so the injury could end his career.

"I think we should really wait on that,'' Miami coach Pat Riley said. "But it's not good.''

The loss of Mourning is yet another obstacle for the Heat (7-18). Two seasons removed from the franchise's first NBA title, Miami owns the worst record in the Eastern Conference with essentially the same core players.

"I still think we have a chance this season, because the East is so weak," Heat guard Ricky Davis said. "Other teams are not playing well, and neither are we. We just have to figure out how to put together a few wins and turn things around."

Dwyane Wade scored a season-high 36 points on Wednesday, when he made 20 of 22 free-throw attempts. Wade has topped 30 points in five of his last seven games, and has made 50 of 55 shots from the charity stripe in his last three.

He had 23 points and nine assists in Miami's 91-87 win over the Nets on Nov. 17, the fourth victory for the Heat in the last five games of this series.

The Nets (10-15) are a season-worst five games below .500 after dropping six of their last seven games, including a 106-101 defeat to Sacramento on Tuesday.

New Jersey led the Kings by one point after three quarters before turning the ball over seven times in the final period. The Nets finished with 22 turnovers.

"We can't have the kinds of turnovers we've been having,'' said Nets coach Lawrence Frank, whose club made only 4 of 15 3-point attempts. "That and the 3-point shooting have been our Achilles' heel, and they're why we lost (Tuesday).''

Richard Jefferson matched a season high with 36 points after scoring just 14 in Saturday's 94-86 loss to New York. Jefferson, whose 24.9 points per game rank fifth in the league, had 18 points in the loss to the Heat last month.

Point guard Jason Kidd had 16 points and 15 assists against Miami earlier this season. He finished with 11 points, 10 boards and nine assists on Tuesday, falling just shy of his seventh triple-double of 2007-08.

Frank gave second-year player Josh Boone his first career start and Sean Williams his third on Tuesday, and both are expected to be back in the starting lineup for this game.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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