Rockets vs Heat
After dropping four in a row mid-way through the month of January, the Miami Heat have reeled back to win four straight behind outstanding performances by a revitalized veteran in Dwyane Wade. The Heat will look to make it five straight Tuesday night as they visit the Toyota Center to square off against a Houston team that are failing to find answers defensively being – losers of their last three.
Venue: Toyota Center, Houston TX
Game Time: 8:00 pm ET – 7:00 PM CT
TV: NBA TV, ROOT, Fox Sports Sun
Radio: 790 The Ticket, WAQI 710 AM, 790 AM
Both teams have faced each other once this season which resulted in a shocking Heat come back.
Houston 89 – 109 Miami
- Hassan Whiteside (Hip) – Out indefinitely
- Chris Andersen (Knee) – Out indefinitely
- Tyler Johnson (Shoulder) – Set to have surgery on rotator cuff
- Dwight Howard (Suspended) – Out
What’s Been Working
There was stint early in the season where I firmly believed that Miami was the second best team in the East and had a plausible chance at competing against Lebron James and the Cavaliers. Since then, my opinion has swayed a bit due to the uprising of the Raptors and further examination of the Heat.
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What lead me to this firm belief was the overall balance in depth and mix of veterans and youngsters on this Miami roster. Chris Bosh for what ever reason is perhaps the most under appreciated superstar in today’s league, maybe it’s because of the constant online embarrassment he brings upon himself but the guy can flat out play on both ends of the floor. It’s not often that you see a guy his size being left handed possessing such touch from all over the floor while being able to hold his own defensively.
Wade is a player I hate but love watching. Dwyane will make one or two plays a week that’ll have you questioning whether he really did lose a step or not and its frustrating as hell. In his prime, Wade was arguably the most entertaining player to watch which is crazy to imagine being in an era where the likes of Lebron, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant exist. We all have a memory we wish to relive just for one day, mines is to see Wade perform the way he did in the 2006 Finals against the Dallas Mavericks. Stop teasing us man!
Aside from the veteran leadership that has been the driving motor to Miami’s recent success, the Heat have quietly been one of the most stubborn defensive units all season long. They’ve been constantly hovering in and out of the top five in terms of defensive efficiency all season long currently holding opponents to 99.8 points per 100 possessions according to Teamrankings.com. The Heat have also kept opponents from capitalizing on transition opportunities limiting teams to only 9.5 fast break points per game.
What Hasn’t Been Working
Examining both Houston and Miami through a lens is a bit ironic because of the fact that both ball clubs are completely polar opposites from each other. Miami is a team that prides them selves on the defensive side of the floor while Houston isn’t quite sure how to spell that word yet. On the other hand, the Rockets are almost a sure bet to light up the scoreboard for 100 plus while the Heat have had troubles all season long finding any rhythm offensively.
But as both team’s records being an indicator, obviously Miami has had the sweeter of the juice as their defensive consistency has proven to grind out more wins than a high powered Houston offense has produced.
The odd makers have made Houston as four point favorites at home and have set the total over/under at 209.
This situation seems awfully familiar. Just about 10 days ago, the Rockets were under siege after dropping two straight to the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Clippers. Defense again was being questioned and turmoil started filling the air. That night, the Rockets were up against a surging Milwaukee Bucks team who were coming off a three game winning streak. Dwight Howard was also ruled out that night against the Bucks.
In my game day preview for that contest, I predicted the Bucks to win and the Rockets to continue to struggle. Wrong I was, as we saw a collective defensive effort from the Rockets pulling out a 102-98 victory.
Not being fooled here. Expect a bounce back effort from the Rockets with revenge on their minds from an embarrassing loss earlier in the season on a trip to Miami.
Houston – 103
Miami – 95
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