The Miami Heat is slightly shorted handed for its preseason finale against the Houston Rockets at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Playing the second game of a back-to-back to wrap up the preseason, the Heat is without Jimmy Butler on Friday in Miami. The star wing was not listed on the injury report Friday, but isn’t in the lineup for the final game before the start of the regular season.
“We’ll have a pretty full complement,” coach Erik Spoelstra said ahead of the 8 p.m. tipoff.
The Heat earned another convincing win against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, beating the in-state rival 107-98 at the Amway Center. The win against the Magic in Orlando was a sort of dress rehearsal for Miami, as Butler played 28 minutes and scored a preseason-best 23 points.
Forwards KZ Okpala, Udonis Haslem and James Johnson will also all miss the preseason finale. Okpala is dealing with an illness, Haslem is battling a sprained left wrist and Johnson is out because of conditioning.
The Heat opens the regular season Wednesday at home against the Memphis Grizzlies.
With Butler out, Miami starts point guard Kendrick Nunn, power forwards Justise Winslow and Duncan Robinson, and post players Bam Adebayo and Meyers Leonard.
The Rockets took a different tack Friday, going with their regular starting lineup: point guard Russell Westbrook, guard James Harden, shooting guard Danuel House Jr., forward P.J. Tucker and post player Clint Capela.
Shooting guard Michael Frazier, wing Gerald Green, power forward Ray Spalding and post player Nene are out for Houston. Frazier has a right ankle sprain, Green has a left foot injury, Spalding has a left calf strain and Nene has an adductor injury.
Heat announces new partnership with American Airlines
Although American Airlines’ naming rights deal for the Heat’s arena is set to expire at the end of the year, Miami struck a new deal with the Texas-based airline.
The Heat and American Airlines will announce a new marketing partnership Saturday, one which will make AA the team’s first international marketing partner. American will also be the presenting partner of Miami’s upcoming “City Edition” iteration of the wildly popular “Vice” jerseys. The Heat, which wore two different versions of “Vice” jerseys last season, are set to debut the “City Edition” later this year.