In a blow for the blockbuster billing of tonight’s Heat vs. Rockets clash in Houston, Miami superstar Jimmy Butler is unlikely to take the floor due to illness.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra described Butler as “wiped out”, and described the ailment as “very similar to what Goran [Dragic] had.”
Dragic missed last Saturday’s game against New Orleans with a severe sinus infection, and it sounds like Butler has something very similar.
Butler – who is currently still listed as questionable – is averaging a team-high 18.9 points and 6.7 assists per game, and led the Heat to 129-100 blowout of the Rockets in Miami earlier this month. James Harden was held to *just* 29 points in that game, largely thanks to a smothering team defensive effort led by Butler.
James Johnson (also coming back from an illness) and Justise Winslow (concussion) are both expected to be available for the Heat after missing significant periods of time. Winslow hasn’t played in nearly three weeks after struggling with a head knock, while Johnson has struggled with disciplinary issues and illness, and is unlikely to see major minutes in any event.
For the Rockets, Clint Capela – who is averaging more than 20 rebounds per game in his last seven appearances – is also out with illness. Veteran centre Tyson Chandler will likely pick up the bulk of his minutes as a starter, while Isaiah Hartenstein and P.J. Tucker may also see minutes in the middle.
Houston do not play again until Saturday, so it is likely Capela will only miss one game. However, this is a big one to miss, with the 12-4 Heat currently sitting equal second in the Eastern Conference after a blistering start to the season.