- REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Miami Heat vs Denver Nuggets takes place on Thursday night with the Heat looking to bounce back after their surprise defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday evening. The game will take place at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, and is scheduled to begin at 10.30 p.m. ET. Fans can watch online through live stream (details below).
LeBron James and the Heat come into this game following their surprise 107-100 loss to the Clippers at the Staples Center on Wednesday. Prior to that loss the Heat had been looking good with a record of 6-2, but they have slipped to 6-3 and will be eager to improve their win to loss ratio tonight.
The Heat's offense has been firing well, and has seen them claim wins so far over the Boston Celtics, the Denver Nuggets, the Phoenix Suns, the Brooklyn Nets, the Atlanta Hawks and the Houston Rockets. However, although their offense has been impressive their defense has been lackluster at times and has not been close to championship form. It is largely Miami's defense's fault that they have slipped to losses against the Memphis Grizzlies, the New York Knicks and most recently the Clippers.
However, the Heat are not the only team suffering in defense, and the Denver Nuggets also have defensive frailties to address. Especially considering the Heat boast the NBA's highest-scoring offense so far, if the Nuggets leave any gaps in defense Miami are sure to find and exploit them.
The Heat's defensive demise though has been as sudden as it has been disastrous. Last season they ranked fourth in the NBA defensively by score, allowing just 92.5 points per game through their championship season. After just nine games this season they have slipped to 101.0 points per game and rank among the bottom in the NBA.
To reveal the contrast between the 2011-12 defense and the 2012-13 defense, last season the Heat allowed opposition to score more than 100 points in just 16 of 66 games - that's just 24.2 percent of the time. This season already they have allowed 100 points or more six times from nine games - that's 66.7 percent.
The Nuggets come into this match up with a record of 4-4, but are currently undefeated played at home in the Pepsi Center, where they boast a 2-0 record. They have already suffered a defeat to the Heat at the start of the month, however, and will have to pull out one of the best performances of the season so far to gain a victory tonight.
Surprisingly the Heat have lost 10 straight games in Denver coming into this game, and must break that poor run of form here if they are to come away with the win. The Nuggets rank fifth in the Western Conference with 99.1 points per game.
Guard Dwyane Wade has said prior to tonight's game: "We have some good moments, but we have to put a full game together on the road. The important thing right now is to figure out how we can get better."
Miami Heat vs Denver Nuggets tips off at 10.30 p.m. ET and can be watched online through live stream by clicking here.