Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Clippers Prediction: The Heat Are Back on Top and Show No Signs of Cooling Off

Miami is quietly looking like a team about to pull away in the East, while the Knicks' downward spiral continues. NBA expert Jonathan Macri is here with his predictions and picks for Friday night's marquee matchups.
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Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Clippers Prediction: The Heat Are Back on Top and Show No Signs of Cooling Off

Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Clippers Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

When: Friday, January 28, 8:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass

Click Here for Heat vs Clippers Odds

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Heat vs. Clippers Line Movement

A juggernaut hiding in plain sight? The Miami Heat might just be that.

Just don't look at the standings. At the moment, the Heat are one of six teams bunched up at the top of the East, all within two games of one another. They're at the top of that group, but barely, and don't even have the best net rating in the conference, with that designation going to the surprising Cleveland Cavaliers.

Like the Cavs, Miami is 8-2 in its last 10 games. Along with 5th place Philly (7-3) they're the only ones above .500 in their last 10. But the Heat have the best net rating of the group in that time, at plus 9.3, and even that doesn't fully capture their level of dominance. For instance, Miami has had leads of 30 and 26 points in each of their last two games, only to relax late and wind up winning by 14 and six points, respectively.

The fact is that the Heat have the capability of playing just about the best defense in the league whenever they so choose. Far more surprising is that their offense has become one of the top units in the game. Their 4th ranked offensive rating for the season is an impressive 112.4, but that number has risen to 117.3 over these last 10.

In come the Clippers, who followed up their historic comeback against the Wizards with a nice win in Orlando to get back to .500. They also have wins in Philly and against Indiana in their last six games, but the total margin in those four wins is 17 points. That fight, plus the Jimmy Butler questionable tag (big toe irritation) is why this line is what it is despite the game being in Miami. The Heat's propensity to let teams make late runs is also a factor.

Don't let it fool you. The Heat are outscoring teams by 7.6 points per 100 possessions at home this year, where they have a 17-5 record. Without Butler on the court, those numbers are plus-6.0 and 13-2 - still quite dominant. If he plays, it's a slam dunk, but if not, you can still feel safe in giving the points at home.

Heat vs. Clippers Pick

Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks Prediction

When: 10:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: ESPN

Click Here for Bucks vs Knicks Odds

Bucks vs. Knicks Line Movement

What does a team in crisis look like? Just pop in a tape of New York's Wednesday night game against the Heat to find out.

The final margin was only 14 because the Knicks' bench competes their butts off every game and kept this one respectable, but look no further than Julius Randle's minus-36 if you're wondering why things have fallen apart. Last season's Most Improved Player would win an award for biggest drop-off this season if such a thing were possible. He's been terrible.

Now he goes into another matchup against the sort of defense that frustrates both he and RJ Barrett: a Bucks unit that can switch everything and has a chessboard queen in Giannis who can further neutralize essentially everything New York's offense is based on. It's slightly worrisome that Milwaukee is only 5-7 in their last dozen games, but all of those losses have been fairly close and they're 4-1 in their last 5 at home.

This line pays respect to the Knicks record - only three games under .500 - but they're a team that appears to spiraling and these lines are about to start getting larger. Take advantage while you still can.

Bucks vs. Knicks Pick

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insightpicks

Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.

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