Heat at Rockets: Friday’s lineups, injury reports, broadcast and stream info

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  • Houston Rockets
    Houston Rockets
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  • Miami Heat
    Miami Heat
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The veteran-laden Heat and youthful Houston Rockets are two franchises with clearly different directions in the 2021-22 NBA season, and their recent results reflect that. Miami enters Friday’s showdown on New Year’s Eve with four consecutive wins and 8 of its last 10 overall, while the home team has lost five straight and 9 of its last 11 games, in total.

The Heat are in the top four of the Eastern Conference standings, while the Rockets remain in the basement of the Western Conference.

Yet, upon a closer look, there are reasons for the hosts at Toyota Center to have cautious optimism. The Rockets are coming off a relatively strong showing in Tuesday’s close loss to the Lakers, and they will enter with two full days of rest. Miami also hasn’t played since Tuesday, but for a very different reason — their scheduled game on Wednesday in San Antonio was postponed due to COVID-19 issues within the team.

While Houston currently has four absences due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Miami is dealing with far more overall, as evidenced by the postponement due to lacking the league’s requisite eight players. The Heat could have veteran star Jimmy Butler back from a recent ankle sprain, according to reports, which would clearly help. But the Rockets should have a clear advantage in terms of overall roster depth.

When and How to Watch

  • Date: Friday, Dec. 31

  • Time: 6 p.m. Central

  • TV Channel: AT&T SportsNet Southwest, NBA League Pass

  • Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free in Houston markets)

Probable starting lineups

Houston Rockets (10-25)

Miami Heat (22-13)

The probable Houston lineup is from the Rockets’ official game notes, while the Miami group is admittedly a guess based on available names.

Injury reports

The Heat currently have a whopping eight players out due to health and safety protocols, presumably due to positive COVID-19 test results: Zylan Cheatham, Marcus Garrett, Udonis Haslem, Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, PJ Tucker, and Gabe Vincent.

They also have Bam Adebayo (right thumb), Markieff Morris (neck whiplash), KZ Okpala (right wrist), and Victor Oladipo (right knee) listed as out due to injury. Jimmy Butler (right ankle sprain) is questionable, though reports have suggested that he is likely to play.

Due to the outbreak, Miami has reached temporary hardship deals with Kyle Guy, Aric Holman, Haywood Highsmith, Mario Chalmers, and Nik Stauskas. When combined with Butler, Tyler Herro, Caleb Martin, and Ӧmer Yurtseven, that would potentially give the Heat nine available players for Friday — which provides a slight buffer over the NBA’s minimum number of eight active players for a game to proceed.

Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reports that Lowry and Garrett might be out of the protocols by Friday night, which could bring the available list to 11. Even so, a new wave of positives in from the gameday morning round of testing could still put the game in jeopardy.

Houston, by comparison, has no injuries listed on its report and “only” four players in the protocol: Jae’Sean Tate, Garrison Mathews, DJ Augustin, and newcomer DeJon Jarreau, who was signed only two days ago on a hardship deal due to other players in the protocol.

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