Players to watch: Justise Winslow (Heat) and LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
The Heat are trying to get back to the postseason after missing out in 2017, finishing ninth in the Eastern Conference with a 41-41 record. They had the same record as the Chicago Bulls, but missed out on the playoffs due to a tiebreaker. Winslow is back at full strength for Miami after missing most of last season with a shoulder injury, while the Spurs are starting the season with star Kawhi Leonard on the bench with an injury. Aldridge just signed a contract extension, and is looking to bounce back from the mediocre season he had in 2016-17.
For a league that has fairly high turnover at the head coach position, this is a matchup of two teams that buck the trend. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich isn’t just the longest-tenured coach in the NBA, he’s the longest-tenured coach of anyone in the four major pro sports as he enters his 22nd season in San Antonio. His counterpart in this game, Erik Spoelstra, is the longest-tenured coach in the Eastern Conference, with 10 years in Miami. Spoelstra rose from being a Heat video coordinator to head coach, so he’s probably the best candidate to one day catch up to Popovich.
The Spurs take on the Heat on Wednesday, October 25 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.