(Photo credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports)
The red-hot Miami Heat will take a six-game winning streak into a matchup against the visiting Brooklyn Nets on Thursday.
The Heat enter off a 115-105 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday, which wrapped up a 4-0 road trip.
"We have a will to win," Heat center Bam Adebayo said.
Brooklyn has a much more modest two-game win streak, including its most recent victory, 124-104 over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday.
Brooklyn was without two starters in that game due to injuries: shooting guard Cam Thomas (ankle) and point guard Ben Simmons (back).
Thomas leads the Nets in scoring at 26.9 points per game, and his status is uncertain. Simmons tops the squad in rebounds (10.8) and assists (6.7) but has played just six games.
Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said Simmons, who hasn't played since Nov. 6, will be out at least one more week.
With Simmons in the lineup this season, the Nets are averaging 118.2 points per game, and without him, they are scoring 105.6 points.
"Ben was playing well," Vaughn said. "We'll support him while he's dealing with this."
Without their starting backcourt, the Nets relied on guard Spencer Dinwiddle (game-high 29 points and nine assists) and forwards Mikal Bridges (21 points) and Cam Johnson (20 points) against Orlando.
The Nets on Sunday got 6-11 center Nic Claxton back from the injury list. In three games this season, he is averaging 8.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks.
Wednesday will mark Brooklyn's second visit to Miami this month. The Nets beat the Heat 109-105 Nov. 1. Former Miami Hurricanes star Lonnie Walker IV led the Nets' bench in that game with 17 points and four assists.
That was the last defeat before Miami started its current six-game win streak.
The Heat, who will embark on a five-game road trip immediately after playing Brooklyn, have been shorthanded due to injuries to Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin.
Herro, who ranks second on the Heat in scoring (22.9) and assists (4.6) in eight games, has a sprained ankle and will be re-evaluated in a week. Thursday will mark the fourth straight game he has missed.
Martin, who started a career-high 49 games for Miami last season, is a valuable role player. Another one of Miami's many undrafted players, Martin brings intensity on both ends of the court. He has been able to play just one game this season because of knee tendonitis but is listed as available for Thursday's game.
Miami is still rolling without the two players, in large part due to the efforts of Adebayo and Jimmy Butler.
Adebayo leads Miami in points (23.0), rebounds (10.5) and blocks (1.4) and is a co-leader in steals (1.4). He ranks third in assists (3.8).
Butler has relatively modest numbers so far, ranking third on the team in points (20.0) and rebounds (5.9). However, Butler is starting to heat up with a season-high 32 points Tuesday.
That famed Heat "culture" starts with Butler, who is an extension of coach Erik Spoelstra in terms of mindset.
Said Spoelstra of Miami's current streak: "We're finding ways to win."
--Field Level Media