Miami Heat

Heat brace for ‘another challenge’ against Nuggets

The Heat's Chris Bosh grabs a rebound in front of the Suns' Miles Plumlee during the second half of Tuesday’s game in Phoenix.
The Heat's Chris Bosh grabs a rebound in front of the Suns' Miles Plumlee during the second half of Tuesday’s game in Phoenix. AP

The Heat saw an aggressive offense in Tuesday’s win against the Phoenix Suns.

On Wednesday, the team is ready for more with Ty Lawson and the Denver Nuggets.

“This is the life we have, so 24 hours later, we have to step up to another challenge,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You have an explosive team in transition. Not the same as last night but really an aggressive team in the paint.”

Lawson’s game is similar to the Suns’ guard combo of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic. They get in the paint and create for themselves or others. The Heat held the Phoenix combo to 20 points. Spoelstra says Norris Cole will draw the assignment of trying to slow Lawson.

“That is his reward,” Spoelstra said. “Norris took that challenge for us last night and that is important for us.”

The Nuggets average 103.5 points a game, which ranks eighth in the NBA.

Injuries

Guard Dwyane Wade, who struggled with headaches in Tuesday’s win, will play on Wednesday according to Spoelstra. Udonis Haslem has been battling an illness but will play as well. Forward Josh McRoberts will miss the game with a right knee contusion.

“We will evaluate him [McRoberts on Thursday],’’ Spoelstra said.

For the Nuggets, JaVale McGee (tibia), Nate Robinson (back), Danilo Gallinari (knee) and Randy Foye (quad) are ruled out. Kenneth Faried has missed the last two games, is available but will not start, according to coach Brian Shaw. JJ Hickson will get the start.

▪ Heat forward Chris Andersen never has had a chance to play the Nuggets in Denver since he left the team after the 2012 season. He still won’t get that chance on Wednesday.

Andersen, who has only played in nine games this season, is out with a sprained right ankle. The forward has not been on the court since playing two minutes on Nov. 23 in a win against the Charlotte Hornets. Andersen is averaging 2.2 points and 2.9 rebounds a game.

He had two stints with the Nuggets that covered seven seasons. Andersen’s “Birdman” persona started in Denver with his high-flying dunks and blocks. He was a crowd favorite.

Run to 100

The Heat is averaging 95.4 points a game going into Wednesday’s game. Scoring more than 100 has been a recipe for success. When the Heat scores more than 100, its record is 6-2. Also good news for the Heat is the Nuggets have struggled at times on defense. Denver is giving up 105.8 points a game, 27th in the NBA.

Notable

The Heat is 11-16 in Denver before Wednesday. The two teams split last season with each team winning on the road. … Miami snapped a four-game losing streak on Tuesday in Phoenix. … The Nuggets have lost four in a row. … The Heat is playing its seventh back-to-back set this season. The team is 4-2 in second games.

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