The Miami Heat don't have much to play for Friday night against the Washington Wizards. As a result, Erik Spoelstra's team is taking a hyper-cautious approach to player health in the nation's capital before the postseason finally dawns.
Jimmy Butler (right hand contusion), Bam Adebayo (left quadriceps strain) and Kyle Lowry (left knee soreness) have already been ruled out versus the Wizards. Tyler Herro (right quadriceps contusion), Kevin Love (right rib contusion) and Max Strus (right second finger hyperextension), meanwhile, are currently listed on the injury report as questionable to play against Washington.
The Heat enter Friday's action at 43-37, seventh in the Eastern Conference, just a game behind the sixth-place Brooklyn Nets to avoid the play-in tournament. But Miami lost all three meetings with Brooklyn this season, putting a major dent in its hopes of overtaking Jacque Vaughn's team in the standings during the final two games of the regular season.
The only way the Heat can surpass the Nets is if they finish 2-0 and Brooklyn goes 0-2.
“I don’t give a damn,” Butler told Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports about his team's prospective postseason path. “I just love playing basketball. We can beat anybody when we’re playing the right way. Play-in, here we come. Playoffs, here we come.”
Miami has struggled living up to expectations in 2022-23 after advancing to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season. Beset by injuries pretty much since the season tipped off, the Heat's surprising lack of three-point shooting around Butler and Adebayo has left them with a bottom-six offense league-wide.
Miami and Washington tipoff at 7:00 (PT) from Capital One Arena.